Although we have limited sympathy for the tech companies on the PRISM issue, to be fair, none of them were fans either. Yahoo! just won the right to have the documents for their loss to the government declassified. And Google is planning to take it one step further, by encrypting everything you post to Google Drive.
Essentially, Google is planning on pulling a “letter of the law” on the Feds. If they’re ordered to fork over a document, they have to fork it over… but they’re under no obligation, and in fact legally are not allowed to, decrypt the files. And they can’t decrypt them anyway, since the encryption is tied to your username and password. So essentially, the Feds can demand your stuff, but it won’t do them any good. The only downside is that the loophole has a loophole:
But the government might be able to convince a judge to grant a wiretap order, forcing Google to intercept and divulge the user’s login information the next time the user types it in. Vancouver-based Hush Communications was required to take a similar step in 2007 — though that was under Canadian law, not that of the United States.
Honestly, though, that does rather neatly solve a huge problem with PRISM, namely the fact that there’s no warrants involved, just a “51% confidence” the person the NSA is spying on is a foreign national. So Google would essentially be forcing the government to do their damn jobs and get a warrant.
Google isn’t just doing this because it’s ticked at the government: It wants to win the cloud storage wars. The entire PRISM debacle has set back Google’s ultimate goal of storing all your crap digitally, because now nobody trusts Google, or any major tech company, with said crap. Really, this whole “making the government RTFM” thing is just a pleasant side effect.
But hey, we’ll take it. Beats the alternative!
I want more like this!
Follow us on Facebook and get the latest before everyone else.