Jeff Fawkes is a seasoned investment professional and a crypto analyst. He has a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing and is passionate when it comes to how technology impacts our society.
Google, one of the most influential corporations, is having a lack of time to work on government requests. The company will take fees from federal agents and clerks for handling personal data requests.
It is somewhat strange that the famous postal secrecy law doesn’t work online. If you use a third-party e-mail provider, anybody can gain access to your data and secrets and sell them.
Google wasn’t charging the lazy investigators in the past. The legal fee that Google is taking for giving the users’ e-mails and phone talks is rising only in 2020. Specifically, the NYT reporters got their hand on the document by Google saying they need to ”offset the cost” of compiling the information for the lawmakers.
Now, agents will have to pay $45-245 for a single request, depending on the type of data. If the agents do not have a search warrant, Google won’t show the e-mails and will cooperate for $45 on the subpoena matters. Then, $60 is a cost for handling your wiretapped calls to the agents. Finally, if they have a search warrant, Google will charge $245 and let them read every of your e-mail and other data.
Who reads your letters after they print them out and before they handle them to law enforcement? What happens to the data after the investigation is over?
Also, Google is one of the most profitable ventures of our times, so the argument about ”costs” look foggy. They definitely not on a brink of bankruptcy. However, such satanic practice could be the ugly reality of 2020, with Google pitching the agents by themselves to establish a conveyor of ”criminals”, and ”earn” much more cash.
How Many Sins You Did Using Google Services?
In the past, agencies were sending requests to Internet-based businesses for free. However, Google received 160,000 requests regarding the users’ accounts in 2019. In the Transparency Report tech giant claims, they have to send out the partial (or even complete) data on a user in 60-80% of all cases. Google now claims that it becomes more and more time consuming to prepare such documents. They also seem yo get tired of spying on innocent users, fighting with lawyers and bad press coverage.
Not that all those troubles are huge for them. However, the corporation wants to charge the government more to lower the number of requests and spend less time on anti-Constitutional nonsense:
“We review each request we receive to make sure it satisfies applicable legal requirements and Google’s policies. If we feel that a request is overly broad — asking for too much information given the circumstances — we seek to narrow it… By far the most common is the subpoena, followed by search warrants.”
Putting your sensitive communications on Google servers is like putting a large pack of dollar bills or gift cards into your teen sister’s personal cabinet. Do you think you will find them next time you come check the dollars? Right – at least part of the sum will be missing.
Personal Data Mining – Oil Industry of 21 Century
Imagine that Google management and government agents are all inadequate teens. And imagine a bunch of crazy teens in Google and NSA uniforms shitting on a Constitution and your rights. They do it to put you in jail for someone else’s sins, and they don’t care.
Depending on the provider, the data is accessed on a temporary or continuous basis. Who are the admins reading the e-mails? And how exactly ‘keyword scanning’ robots coded by the e-mail services across the globe work? They’ll even send you the notification of them breaking your Constitutional rights (just because they can):
“If Google receives ECPA legal process for a user’s account, it’s our policy to notify the user via email before any information is disclosed unless such notification is prohibited by law.”
If you want the e-mail service to be transparent and anonymous, there is an option. You can try to use such services as ProtonMail or Tutanota. For the most secured communications, PGP-encrypted e-mails or XMPP+OTR chats with your own servers setup can be the best options.