In January, Google went public with news that some of its systems had been hacked, along with those of a number of US-based companies. The attacks had targeted both accounts maintained by political activists and commercial code, and Google pointed the finger straight at China, vowing to change its entire approach to business in that country. But a report now suggests that the company is also looking to beef up its internal defenses to prevent a repeat of the attacks.
The Washington Post is reporting that Google has started negotiations with the US National Security Agency about a collaborative effort to analyze the attack and figure out how best to prevent a recurrence. The Post is citing confidential sources, as the deal isn't final and, even if it were, it's unlikely that Google would seek to publicize it.
For starters, both organizations have already been the target of many complaints by privacy advocates, the NSA for its domestic surveillance efforts, Google for its data retention policies. The combination of the two would clearly make the advocates far more uneasy, and might help them make their case with the wider public. Meanwhile, as the report notes, private companies have often been loath to share information about their proprietary systems with the government for a variety of reasons.
That may explain why the negotiations have been going slowly, as the NSA would clearly need access to and understanding of Google's infrastructure in order to fully evaluate the attacks and future risks. And that's precisely the sort of proprietary information that Google is presumably reluctant to provide anyone with—even a highly secretive organization like the NSA.
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