On August 13, the website of the Russian Strategic Culture Foundation published a signed article entitled “Google engaging in espionage at the request of the US intelligence agency” by valeryn katasonov, Professor of international finance, Moscow State Institute of international relations. The author calls Silicon Valley IT giants such as apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft as “Silicon Valley Mafia”, and introduces how the U.S. intelligence department and Silicon Valley IT companies cooperate to obtain user information. The article is compiled as follows:
“nothing personal, just business.” Who knows the famous words of Al Capone, the former leader of the gang? Today, it has become the motto of California’s Silicon Valley Mafia: apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
there are a lot of illegal actions of these companies, which sometimes develop to the stage of court litigation or public investigation. However, the author would like to draw attention to the following facts: American IT companies not only violate the laws of the United States, but also violate the laws of other countries. The essence of the illegal act is to collect, process and store the user information in the operation process. They use this information in three ways: first, to expand their business; second, to sell it to other companies; and third, to transfer the information to law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies.
the first two methods aim to increase profits. The third approach does not have a direct business impact, but ensures that these IT companies are supported by the state, especially “deep government.”.
after the Patriot Act was passed in 2011, it companies and the U.S. government began to actively cooperate. For example, it simplifies the procedures for U.S. government departments to access users’ personal privacy information stored by IT companies. The Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other intelligence agencies can obtain access without court permission. Many politicians and public figures in the United States have questioned this, because it violates the rights of citizens given by the US Constitution, but for the US government, the constitution is no longer a law.
ten years after the “9 / 11” incident, the average number of requests for privacy information about us and foreign citizens issued by US government departments was thousands of times a month. For example, in the first half of 2011, the U.S. government sent 5950 such requests to Google, involving 11057 users. Google meets these requirements 93% of the time. The relationship between American IT companies and their governments is not limited to providing information again and again. According to the latter requirement, it enterprises can monitor specific objects continuously for an unlimited period of time. Relevant departments will send letters to remind IT enterprises that it is not necessary to block the accounts of some objects, but to keep monitoring. At the beginning of 2015, British media reported that WikiLeaks asked Google to explain the personal privacy information of some employees of WikiLeaks to the FBI for several consecutive years. In the autumn of 2014, Wikileaks chief Assange said Google was following the requirements of the FBI, the national security agency and other intelligence agencies to engage in espionage.
in 2016, after the accountability group released its report, the fact that Google has a close relationship with the US government, EU leaders and EU Member States’ governments has become well known.
cooperation between US intelligence agencies and IT companies continued to heat up in 2018. At that time, the United States passed the so-called “cloud act”, which clarifies the foreign legal use of data law, and allows the US intelligence agencies to obtain the data of American citizens stored by IT companies from American IT companies, even if they are located on foreign servers.
U.S. intelligence agencies also use the information channels of American IT companies to influence public opinion in other countries, causing turbulence and disturbing the political election process. The Russian government has accused Facebook and Google of illegally disseminating political material during the “silence day” of the parliamentary election in September 2019, “interfering in Russian sovereignty and impeding democratic elections.”.
from 2020, the relationship between the US government and US IT companies may enter a new stage. Google put forward suggestions to deepen cooperation. At the end of January 2020, Google announced that it would start charging intelligence agencies and police for access to user data. The price list has been released: provide the required information from the database – $45; $wiretapping; $245 to collect the necessary information on request.
ten years ago, the “Silicon Valley Mafia” still relied heavily on US intelligence and law enforcement agencies; today, the situation has changed: the above-mentioned departments cannot do without the “Silicon Valley Mafia”. Snowden, a former CIA employee, pointed out in 2019 that the intelligence capabilities of American IT companies now far exceed those of the national security agency. As a result, Google began to use the new rules of the game to collect money from intelligence. After all, “nothing personal, just business.”.