Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android

“Tech giants listed as part of the National Security Agency’s Prism spying program have gone to some lengths to convince the world they aren’t in bed with the U.S. government,” Mark Milian reports for Businessweek. “Google has filed a request with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests.”

“So there’s a certain irony that NSA programmers are now refining code that Google has approved for the company’s mobile operating system, Android,” Milian reports. “Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why does Google, supposedly staffed by some of the world’s preeminent genius PhDs, need U.S. government workers to write “security” code for their OS?

“Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter,” Milian reports. “NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, ‘Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.'”

MacDailyNews Take: “Open.”

“In May the Pentagon approved the use of smartphones and tablets that run Samsung’s mobile enterprise software, Knox, which also includes NSA programming, the company wrote in a June white paper. Sony, HTC, and Samsung declined to comment,” Milian reports. “‘Apple does not accept source code from any government agencies for any of our operating systems or other products,’ says Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for the company.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: By SteveJack

As the post-PC world continues to diminish the use of crappy Windows PCs, which run a so-called operating system from Microsoft, a company that seemingly couldn’t wait to jump into bed with the NSA for whatever benefits that would offer, the conspiracy-minded could easily see why malware-prone Android phones and tablets are being pushed so hard to the ignorati worldwide through unending “Buy One, Get X Free” promotions, myriad slanted reviews that falsely equate Android devices with Apple products, and why lawsuits over blatant patent infringement are stalled in U.S. and other U.S.-allied nations’ courts for many years, while (and so that) Android takes hold as the world’s dominant OS in terms of unit share; get it in as many hands as possible.

But, of course, that would be crazy talk.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, former web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Peter G.” for the heads up.]

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Snowden: Apple, Facebook, Google can resist U.S. NSA – June 17, 2013

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Latest self-replicating Android Trojan looks and acts just like Windows malware – June 7, 2013
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Symantec: Apple iOS offers ‘full protection,’ Google Android ‘little protection’ vs. malware attacks – June 29, 2011
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44 Comments

  1. Reports suggest that if current trend should be followed, less than 2% of Android devices will be infected with malware. Android is malware prone but not to the ridiculous extent that tech-analyst profess.

    1. I know Green, but that doesn’t stop 99+% of all new malware being specifically for Android. Nor does it stop LUSER behavior whereby grannie installs any old Android app that catches her eye, oops she’s PWNed. You and I do NOT represent the masses. The LUSER Factor is the main reason Trojan horse malware is so incredibly successfully. Even Mac users got nailed a year ago to the tune of over 100,000 PWNed by one single Trojan horse.

      Never ignore the LUSER Factor. Any decent IT manager keeps it foremost in his/her mind.

  2. It comes as no surprise that Android is corrupted with NSA spyware, but what assurance do we have that iOS is not? Clearly, we cannot trust Apple or the government to tell us the truth, so how can we protect ourselves from an obviously compromised government agency?

  3. Point of Order
    “Why does Google, supposedly staffed by some of the world’s preeminent genius PhDs, need U.S. government workers to write “security” code for their OS?”

    The Special Ops people who got OBL were/are ‘Government Workers’.
    The people who built the Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs were ‘Government Workers’.
    The people who designed the space probes exploring our universe were/are ‘Government Workers’.
    The Coast Guardsmen who were rescue people at sea under unimaginable circumstances are ‘Government Workers’.
    Chuck Yeager was a ‘Government Worker’ as was Neil Armstrong, Alan Shephard & Ed White.

    Some of the finest minds in the world work for the UNited States government despite the fact that many could earn far more elsewhere. Some do it because only the government does what they wish to do and others because they think it important to serve their country.

    Remember that the next time you toss out that Republican talking point.

    1. Your pitifully naive little diatribe fails to answer the question posed:

      Why does Google, supposedly staffed by some of the world’s preeminent genius PhDs, need U.S. government workers to write “security” code for their OS?

      Do something that brain-dead liberals rarely do: Answer the fucking question, instead of blindly leaping to defend your beloved government which, by the way, doesn’t give a shit about you.

  4. Therefore:
    1) The NSA has entered the field of business and is making craptastic Android more competitive with already solidly secure iOS. More government abuse of Apple.

    2) “The bottom line: The NSA is quietly writing code for Google’s Android OS. Google says anyone has the right to do so.” Bullshit Alert! ONLY Google allows code into the fake ‘open source’ Android project.

    YOU are responsible Google! No wiggle room available! Your blatant LIE has been noted. Same old evil.

    1. Can you tell it’s past my tea time? Let’s try again, sigh:

      Therefore:
      1) The NSA has entered the field of business and is making craptastic Android more competitive with already solidly secure iOS. More government abuse of Apple.

      2) “The bottom line: The NSA is quietly writing code for Google’s Android OS. Google says anyone has the right to do so.” Bullshit Alert! ONLY Google allows code into the fake ‘open source’ Android project.

      YOU are responsible Google! No wiggle room available! Your blatant LIE has been noted. Same old evil.

  5. Are people afraid of SE Linux ? Its been heralded as a very secure operating system and was developed by the NSA.

    If there were back doors and data collection code in the NSA’s code submissions it would be all over the internet and you’d have Linux and Android contributors screaming bloody murder.

    Its not like you can’t see what the NSA submitted. Its source code for crying out loud.

    I’m sure the uneducated will be blowing the conspiracy horn loud and clear. That tends to happen when the simple minded try to make sense of that which they do not understand.

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