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Some interesting email communication between the NSA and Google has surfaced. The tone of the messages raises questions of whether he NSA had a special relationship with the company. There is some evidence of cooperation between the two regarding cyber security issues. The relationship has deteriorated, however, since the world found out about their data sharing agreement.
Correspondence Between the NSA and Google
In mid-2012, the head of the NSA was sending friendly emails to Google’s executive chairman. The emails between Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Eric Schmidt were about business. But they referred to other, casual met-ups and were worded in a very friendly manner.
The first matter that the email communications bring to light is the cooperation between the NSA and Google on cyber security issues. The NSA had organized meetings with top brass at Google since early in 2012. Top executives of other US tech companies were also invited to such meetings. After at least one such meeting, Director Alexander thanked Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, for the company’s assistance. Vint Cerf is mentioned as one of the contributors. High ranking officers of the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon were also in attendance. The emails also show that these tech company representatives got thorough updates on matters of cyber security.
Clearly, there has been close cooperation between the NSA and Google in the past. The relationship soured after Snowden spilled the beans about the NSA’s data collection scheme. But Google has obviously played a very important role in NSA efforts to build up cyber security.