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Google, Yahoo back doors to US intel agencies: Ex-security official

25 December 2013 15:50

341863_US-intelligence

A former White House security official has revealed that big Internet companies like Google and Yahoo illegally provide US intelligence agencies with the private data of their users.

Richard A. Falkenrath, a former US Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, said in a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg television that the “US government has too much access to the privacy” of Internet users.

He said revelations by the famous whistleblower Edward Snowden “make clear how extensive are the powers of the US government to tap into” Internet, telecommunications and computer systems.

Falkenrath said such companies as Google, Apple and Twitter “are by large US-based, US-chartered companies and have had historically super-close ties with the US government.”

“The US has a sort of leg-up on everybody in their ability to get in and make use of it,” he added.

Falkenrath said the progress in information technology (IT) and computer servers has in recent years been significantly beyond the imagination of US policymakers.

He said confidential documents have recently revealed that the US government and its intelligence organizations have extensive access to the encoded data and communications of people through companies providing email services.

He added that the National Security Agency (NSA) has paid one of the biggest encoded Internet service providing companies USD 10 million in return for decoding messages.

Falkenrath said users of encoded email services feel unsecure because the service providers are cooperating with US intelligence services.

He said officials in foreign countries fear that their cooperation with US companies may cost them their own national security.

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