Google is selling storage and data searching equipment to U.S. Intelligence agencies giving them the power to create internal searches of government data.
The CIA, FBI and National Security Agency have all reportedly banded together to create an internal government intranet – sharing data on a system called Intellipedia.
"Each analyst, for lack of a better term, has a shoe box with their knowledge," Sean Dennehy, chief of Intellipedia development for the CIA, told the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday. "They maintained it in a shared drive or a Word document, but we're encouraging them to move those platforms so that everyone can benefit."
There are three levels of information available to users: Top secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified. According to numbers provided by the CIA, 37,000 accounts have been established providing access to 200,000 pages of information.
Google supplies the software, hardware and tech support. The software and browsing giant is also licensing its mapping data to government agencies.
"We are a very small group, and even a lot of people in the federal government don't know that we exist," said Mike Bradshaw, who leads Google's federal government sales team and its 18 employees, yesterday to the Chronicle.
Federal agencies are not the only government groups lining up for the Google’s know how. The U.S. Coast Guard, The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Highway Safety Administration and the states of Washington and Alabama have also signed up for similar Google systems.
Questioned by CNET earlier this year, both Google and Microsoft declined to say if they have provided their users private data to federal authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. In general email and Internet data are not subject to the same privacy rules that wire, telephone and radio transmissions are.