WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government

“Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge,” Ed Pilkington and Dominic Rushe report for The Guardian.

“WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is ‘astonished and disturbed’ that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to ‘privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches.'”

“Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “The subjects of the warrants were the investigations editor of WikiLeaks, the British citizen Sarah Harrison; the spokesperson for the organisation, Kristinn Hrafnsson; and Joseph Farrell, one of its senior editors.”

“Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “‘Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick,’ she said. She accused Google of helping the US government conceal ‘the invasion of privacy into a British journalist’s personal email address. Neither Google nor the US government are living up to their own laws or rhetoric in privacy or press protections.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Open.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. From Obama Messiah’s SOTU speech of last Tuesday:

    “…but there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago — jobs at companies like Google…”

    Google: Employees and political action committees affiliated with the tech giant have given big to Democrats over the years. Since 2000, the company has given about $11 million in disclosed contributions — the overwhelming majority of which has gone to Democrats.

  2. Did they ever think they had privacy as a Google or Android user? Did they ever question? Did they ever research? What the hell do these people do all day… live in Utopia? Geez, maybe they should be more critical of Google search, internet, phone, or whatever services they offer or maybe that is why they seem to support Google. Google went all Hoover on them? Make you think.

    1. “…Google went all Hoover on them…”

      As much as I admire Tim Cook’s stance on the privacy of Apple customers, if he stands firm on not allowing government backdoors into encryption…literally, his life could be jeopardized. These rat bastards are serious, they play hardball.

  3. i am not defending google – but what obligation did google have reporting ANYTHING to wikileaks? can someone enlighten me on that? (seems a bit blow-harded arrogant to get your panties in a ruffle that some organization waited almost 3 years to notify you that it sent materials to the government. i did not realize google answers to wikileaks in such matters)

    1. How many times must people relearn the Google Company Motto “Do Know Evil”. Anyone who places any information into any Google application, Mail, Docs etc must recognize that the first thing that happens is Google reads it. Then they share it in any way they deem advantageous to them. There is no privacy and none should be assumed. Anyone who puts anything private into Google might just as well post it on Facebook.

  4. I am trying to figure this out. We are talking about data produced by staffers, not customers or users, right?

    If that is the case, Google, as a corporate entity, has sole ownership of that data. IE: They can do what they will, with it.

    I am not trying to defend them here. There is a distinction though. It would seem, they would be able to review that data on moral grounds, as apposed to customer/user data, which they have an obligation to protect. I mean sure they read your emails, but that’s a robot, not a human being, I would think. Then in good conscience, determine that the government request has merit and transfer said information. Because it was staff they are talking about, I would think, they have no obligation to disclose this action.

    Reading employee’s email, is a lot different than reading clientele’s email.

    From a legal perspective, an employee has a right to a certain amount of perceived privacy, up until it becomes a liability to the company. All your email r belong to us.

    These employees could have been swapping porn, for all we know.

  5. Everyone seems to have missed the point that they, the government, got a warrant. I’m against warrant-less invasions of our privacy (which our government appears to do on a regular basis). But, according to our constitution, the government did it the right way this time and they got a warrant. Now, if we have a beef, it’s with the justice who issued the warrant. If he, the justice, did not do his due-dilligence and verify the justification of the governments claim for the warrant, then that’s on him. Google is obligated to honor the warrant. And since it was a “secret search warrant” they (Google) were obligated to keep quiet about it.

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