The Google-Military-Surveillance Complex
FireWorks via Pando Daily | By Yasha Levine on March 7, 2014
It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. Some people carried “State Surveillance No!” signs. A few had their faces covered in rags, and taunted and provoked city officials by jamming smartphones in their faces and snapping photos.
Main item on the agenda that night: The “Domain Awareness Center” (DAC) — a federally funded project that, if built as planned, would link up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city — including CCTV cameras in public schools and public housing projects, as well as Oakland Police Department mobile license plate scanners — into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software, surveil the city by location and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.
#ville #smart_city #surveillance
The details of Google’s business relationships with the intelligence community — even the existence of these deals — are not always easy to come by. The earliest concrete example I could dig up goes back to 2003, when Google secured a $2.07-million gig to outfit the National Security Agency (NSA) with Google’s search tech.
“The #NSA paid #Google for a search appliance capable of searching 15 million documents in twenty-four languages,” according to Consumer Watchdog, which obtained contract documents outlining the NSA-Google partnership.
The contract was to last only a year and apparently was never renewed by the NSA, nonetheless Google kept providing its search services for two full years — free of charge.
At exactly the same time that Google was trying to improve the NSA’s internal search capabilities, the company was in negotiations with two other intelligence agencies: the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a close cousin of the NSA that primarily deals with geospatial/satellite intel for both combat and civilian operations.
These negotiations had to do with Google’s purchase of Keyhole, a tiny tech startup that developed 3-D mapping technology. The company’s main product was an application called EarthViewer, which allowed users to fly and move around a virtual globe as if they were in a video game. Google purchased Keyhole in 2004 for an undisclosed sum, and folded its technology into what later became known as Google Earth.
At the time, Google’s acquisition of Keyhole raised serious privacy concerns. The reason was simple: In 2003, just a year before Google bought Keyhole, the company was saved from bankruptcy by #In-Q-Tel
2010 was a heady year for Google. Aside from its #NGA contract and close collaboration with the NSA, the company secured its first major non-intelligence/non-classified contract with the federal government.
The General Service Administration awarded Google a five-year contract worth $6.7 million to provide the agency with “cloud-based” email services.
Even more valuable than the contract was the fact that Google became the first “cloud-based” services provider to get federal security certification for non-classified data.
With the certification, Google got the drop on its competition — mainly Microsoft and Salesforce — and now had a much needed stamp of approval that opened the door for Google to aggressively pursue other government contracts for hosting services for non-classified purposes.
By the end of 2013, Google had racked up contracts to provide IT services to a long list of federal agencies.
In February 2013, U.S. Naval Academy signed up for Google Apps…
In October 2013, the U.S. Army tapped Google Apps for a pilot program involving 50,000 “Army and Department of Defense (DoD) personnel”…
In 2012, Idaho’s nuclear lab went Google…
In 2012, Department of the Interior awarded Google with a seven-year contract to provide email services for $35 million…
In 2011, U.S. Coast Guard Academy went with Google, too…
At same time, Google began racking up a good number of state and municipal governments, including law enforcement: Los Angeles, Lake Havasu Police Department, State of Wyoming, City of North Las Vegas, Boston and 40 other agencies went over to Google Apps as of this writing.
Hell, it even launched a creepy Soviet-style “Government Transformers” page paying tribute to government heroes who’ve made the switch to Google.