Google released a new informational video about how they handle data requests from law enforcement agencies. The video, titled "The Way of the Warrant" gives you the impression that vigorous oversight and restraint are given by Google, and that they will only grant user data on a limited basis.
The problem is the video is a massive lie by omission. The video fails to acknowledge the core reason that people are leery of using services like Google's anymore.
The spying that everyone is concerned about is not done through traditional law enforcement techniques. They are delivered in secret, and with a gag order that stops Google from being able to discuss the provisions of the demands. These programs sweep up massive amounts of user data that are unrelated to any case, and on all of their respective users, not just users that are under suspicion.
Here is the big list of omissions that do not go through the rigorous process in the Video:
National Security Letters (NSLs): These are demands from American agencies that come with gag orders and sweep up huge amounts of user data without suspicion. Programs like Prism fall under these letters.
Prism: A large number of American companies were compelled to allow the NSA access to all of their user data including content (NOT METADATA). For Telecoms this involved splitting the backbone of the internet so that it could be recorded at key points around the country. For tech companies it meant a widespread campaign to break their privacy tools or subpoena away their ability hide user data.
Quality news links related to Prism:
First news about Prism from The Guardian: NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others
Microsoft gave the NSA their encryption keys, and built surveillance Into Outlook: Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
NSA Paid Millions To Companies To Help With Prism Compliance: NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies
Muscular: Large American companies had the unencrypted transmissions between their datacenters tapped, sweeping up all customer data including content.
Quality news links related to Muscular:
NSA Infiltrates Google Networks: NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say
Xkeyscore / Boundless Informant: All of this user data that is swept up through these programs (and dozens more) is indexed and categorized in a giant database. This database is then accessed by spies at will and the collected data on everyone can be scrutinized or even weaponized against the target.
Countries that are known to likely have Xkeyscore access: Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy (link is in German), Switzerland, Denmark, Israel, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada.
These countries cooperate with data sharing programs in order to enhance their own capabilities and to gain access to more intelligence.
So while Google may be taking extensive steps to heal the damage done by the Snowden files, A short informational video that doesn't reflect reality is not going to calm the skeptics.