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Google and the Government

Google and the Government

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: ZORROzorroZORROzorro on Jan 27, 2011
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11/20/2012

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L
OST IN THE
C
LOUD
 
G
OOGLE AND THE
US
 
G
OVERNMEN
 
 
 Lost in the Cloud: Google and the US Government January 2011
2
ExecutiveSummary
AnambitiousquestforinfluencewiththeUSgovernmentisstartingtopayoffforsearchgiantGoogle,aConsumerWatchdoginvestigationhasfound.OneofthemostvisiblesignsofGooglescloutisthehangarsattheNationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministrationsMoffettAirfield,nearGooglesworldheadquarters,whereafleetofjetsandhelicoptersstandsreadytoferrythecompany’stopexecutivesnearorfar,forbusinessorpleasure.WhenadealbetweenNASAandtopGoogleexecutivestousethebasewasfirstdisclosedin2007,itcalledforonlyfourjetstousethebase.ButnewlyreleasedgovernmentrecordsshowthattheGoogleexecutivefleethasnowgrowntosixjetsandtwohelicopters,whileatleast40GoogleemployeesholdsecuritybadgesatthebaseandalloftheplanesaresuppliedwithDepartmentofDefensejetfuel.WhilethedealwasoriginallystruckbetweenGoogleandNASAinthenameofscientificresearchbytheGooglefleet,NASAdocumentsshowthatpreciouslittleresearchhasoccurred.AccordingtoasetofemailsobtainedbyfreelancejournalistandFOIspecialistRussellCarollo,afighterjetboughtbyGoogleexecutivesin2008toperformtheresearchwasstillbeingreviewedforair-worthinessinmid-2010.Meanwhile,flightrecordsshowthattheotherjetsparkedbyGoogleexecutivesattheNASAfieldareoftenusedforvacationsorschmoozing,includingatleastthree
 
 Lost in the Cloud: Google and the US Government January 2011
3
wintertimetripstotheCaribbeanandatripbyGooglechiefexecutiveEricSchmidttotheCannesFilmFestival.InrecentyearsGooglehaslandedcontractswithatleast25federalagencies,contractingdatabasesshow.Whilethevalueofthosecontractsiscurrentlyonlyalittleover$40million,GooglehasmadenumerousinroadsinWashingtonsincethearrivaloftheObamaadministrationin2008,positioningthecompanyformajorInside-the-Beltwaygrowthintheyearstocome.DocumentsobtainedbyConsumerWatchdogalsoshowthatGoogle’sclosetieswiththeObamaWhiteHousehaveraisedconcernsaboutpossiblespecialtreatmentorconflictsofinterestattheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity,theUSPatent&TrademarkOffice,theFederalCommunicationsCommissionandNASA.Inaddition,officialsatbothDHSandtheFCChaveraisedpointedconcernsaboutweakprivacyprotectionsinGoogleproductsandwhetherGoogle’swell-documenteddifficultieswithprivacyprotectioncouldcreatebigproblemsforfederalagenciesthatuseitsservices.Withminimalnotice,theFCCinAugustbeganusingGoogleAnalyticstomonitorvisitorstoitswebsite,eventhoughoneofficialwroteinane-mailthatitsprivacyprotectionsare“ratherweak.”Addedtheofficial:Giventhefcc'srecentstatementregardingcybersecurity,andthatweareproposingtooutsourcecontentanalyticstogoogle,especiallygivengoogle'srecentprivacybreachinvolving

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