The Shady History Behind Google And The CIA

No company or website is as synonymous with the internet as Google. Besides operating the most widely used search engine in the world, the company also owns an extremely popular email system along with websites like YouTube, Google Maps, Adsense, and companies like Android. Such a monopoly on our connectivity is made even more concerning with the revelation that Google’s origins are intertwined with the CIA and NSA (via Quartz).

In the late ’90s, when Silicon Valley companies were putting in the research that would eventually create Google, some funding and coordination was put forth by teams connected to national intelligence looking into ways to track citizens online. It was the next step in a long relationship between intelligence agencies and scientists in America, as even the internet itself had its origins in intelligence. As the internet and computers became more common in civilian households, the CIA and NSA organized the Massive Digital Data Systems project, or MDDS, that would later influence the invention of Google.

Google's founders were given a grant

Quartz goes on to describe the MDDS as contacting teams at some of the top engineering and programming schools in the country, from Harvard to MIT to Stanford, offering funds and research assistance in exchange for help creating the architecture required for a mass surveillance system. Millions of dollars were distributed in grants that led to the creation of science companies like Netscape and technologies like fiber optics. One of those grants went to Stanford duo Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who would go on to found Google. Their research was focused on constructing a method to find something specific from a large set of data, while the NSA wanted more of a focus on being able to identify and track anyone.

It’s not a stretch to say that both became developed. While Google stormed to the front of the internet with its revolutionary search engine, modern applications mean that anything searched will be logged in Adsense and internet ads will soon replicate. According to Moguldum, former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that Google has kept its ties with American intelligence agencies. Email conversations in 2012 between the NSA chief and Google executives, including Brin, were uncovered, inviting the Google heads to a classified threat briefing. The surveillance origins of Google have not waned as the company has grown.

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