Last the week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) aimed at discovering the content of all electronic correspondence between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA).
The source of the controversy was a "highly sophisticated and targeted” cyber attack targeting Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists in 2010.
To counter the Chinese government’s hacking of its customers’ accounts, Google changed Gmail’s privacy settings to automatically encrypt all traffic to and from its servers.
In the days following the attacks, Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, warned that attacks prompted the Internet behemoth to "review the feasibility of our business operations in China." Google, continued Drummond, was "no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all."
In a blog post, Drummond also wrote that other companies might have been targeted and that he was “working with the relevant U.S. authorities.” It’s the identity of these American “authorities” and the extent of their involvement in the Google attacks that prompted EPIC’s filing of an FOIA petition.
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