NSA to partner with Google to investigate cyber attacks

...But potential alliance raises privacy concerns

Under and agreement that is still in development, the National Security Agency will help Google investigate a recent cyber attack that Google believes originated in China, the Washington Post is reporting in its Thursday editions.

According to the Post, citing unnamed sources, the alliance "is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communications."

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Without cyber response policies, U.S. can only denounce China attacks 

In January, Google admitted that someone had broken into the Google e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government of conducting the attacks, but did say it might withdraw from doing business in the country, according to reports. The attacks targeted Google source code, and extended to more than 30 other large companies.

However, the potential partnership with the NSA raises privacy concerns, the Post reported.

"The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?" said Ellen McCarthy, in the article. McCarthy is president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization of current and former intelligence and national security officials that seeks ways to foster greater sharing of information between government and industry.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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