Security

NSA dishes data to Israel

US Israel
Image Credit: hoyasmeg/Flickr

The special relationship between the United States and Israel is even cozier than we realized — especially when it comes to data that the National Security Agency has gathered.

The NSA is sharing data that has not been scrubbed of U.S. citizen information with Israel, according to a newly leaked memo from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The memo shows a special partnership between the NSA and Israel that includes the transmission of “Raw SIGNET,” according to the Guardian. This is data that the U.S. has collected through its various programs and has not been “minimized” per the government’s standards of getting rid of unnecessary U.S. citizen information.

“As ‘big brother’ as this latest Snowden-supplied ‘revelation’ sounds, it should come as no surprise to anyone. This kind of information sharing is to be assumed as routine between friendly governments, although [this] should not be condoned when done without proper oversight,'” said Diane Mueller, cloud ecosystem evangelist for RedHat, in an e-mail.

The partnership memo outlines that Israel must respect the privacy of those U.S. individuals whose information shows up in the Raw SIGNET. Israel has agreed not to “task communications of U.S. citizens” and to “protect U.S. person information.” Those receiving information from the NSA would be given formal training, though the memo notes that that training was “to be determined.”

Formal training or not, the government still has to transmit that data. Exploring just how well-secured the NSA’s data is might be a problem the technology industry needs to look into more deeply.

Another concern for technology vendors worldwide is the fear that consumers and businesses alike may start distrusting the cloud and all the services offered within it. Shelton Waggener, a senior vice president at Internet2, doesn’t seem to think these leaks are the problem, however.

“Does [this leak] further erode confidence in cloud computing? No, I think the concerns about cloud computing privacy are global in nature already and far beyond jurisdiction of a single entity,” Waggener told VentureBeat in an e-mail. “This simply amplifies that concern.”