Millennium Post

Google staff launch fierce cyber-criticism of NSA for cable tapping

Nobody at the US National Security Agency or the British intelligence agency ‘will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process,’ wrote Mike Hearn, an engineer at Google, on his personal Google+ page.

The comments follow a report in the Washington Post last week that the NSA had gained access to an overseas cable or switch that relayed Google and Yahoo traffic through an unnamed telecommunications provider. The report is the latest revelation based on secret NSA documents leaked by former US contractor Edward Snowden.

Hearn, whose profile on the Google+ website lists him as a Zurich-based software engineer who has worked at Google since 2006, said in the post that he had worked on an ‘anti-hacking system’ at Google for two years, the report added.

‘We designed this system to keep criminals out. There’s no ambiguity here,’ Hearn wrote. ‘Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason,’ he said, noting that the judicial system of warrants and rules of evidence provided an effective and time-honoured way to prevent crime while limiting excessive intrusions into privacy.

‘Even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad,’ wrote Downey.
‘The US has to be better than this,’ he said in a post referring to the National Security Agency. A person close to the company confirmed that Hearn and Downey are Google employees.

Both Hearn, who personally thanked Snowden in his post, and Downey said they were voicing their personal opinions and not speaking on behalf of Google. Google declined to comment on their postings. Last week the company said that it was ‘outraged’ by the government’s actions and called for urgent reform.
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