Unnamed sources tell CNET that Google is testing a new method of encryption that could make it more difficult for government agencies, like the NSA, to access data. Meanwhile, Google and other tech companies continue to press the U.S. government to allow them to release more details about their participation in the NSA's Prism program.
CNET's Declan McCullagh reported, "Google has begun experimenting with encrypting Google Drive files, a privacy-protective move that could curb attempts by the U.S. and other governments to gain access to users' stored files. Two sources told CNET that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is actively testing encryption to armor files on its cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. One source who is familiar with the project said a small percentage of Google Drive files is currently encrypted.
SlashGear's Craig Lloyd explained, "PRISM collects data that the companies are required to provide under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. However, encrypted files don’t fall under FISA (as long as the government doesn’t know the password to get in), so it seems that companies are heading in this direction with their user files, Google Drive being one of the first cloud services to begin the process."
TechSpot's Jesse Schoff speculated, "Details on Google’s new encryption methods have not been disclosed, but it’s possible they are looking into 'zero knowledge' methods that limit even Google’s access to the data stored on Drive servers. If only the end user has access to the encryption keys, only the end user can decrypt the data."
In related news, PCMag's Chloe Albanesius noted, "Several dozen top tech firms, trade groups, non-profits, and investors penned a letter to President Obama, the director of national intelligence, and several members of Congress, demanding greater transparency around national security-related issues. The letter - signed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, and more - requests permission to reveal publicly the number of government requests for data made under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, via National Security Letters, and more."