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Google alerts users whose data was targeted by ‘secret’ FBI probe

GOOGLE HAS BEEN GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT to warn its users about any FBI requests to snoop on their accounts.

Various mumblings online, including on Reddit, note that some people have received emails from Google notifying them that the FBI had compelled the search giant to release information related to the users’ Google account. Previously, a court gagging order had prevented Google from telling them what was going on.

“Google received and responded to legal process issue by Federal Bureau of Investigation (Eastern District of Kentucky) compelling the release of information related to your Google account. A court order previously prevented Google from notifying you of the legal process. We are now permitted to disclose the receipt of the legal process to you,” was one such message Google users got from the company.

The message from Google didn’t go into detail on what the FBI was sniffing around for, but there’s speculation that it could be related to the users buying a program called Luminosity Link, a remote access trojan that has been flogged in hacker forums.

There’s now a level of expectation that email providers alert their users to any governmental and law enforcement probing they may be subject to. But in this case, a gagging order looks like it was used to prevent Google from doing so immediately.

We could speculate this was to stop suspects from deleting incriminating emails and data before they got investigates. And such a temporary non-disclosure order isn’t uncommon in the legal world when an investigation is ongoing.

But it looks like the investigation has been concluded, or at least has run its useful course as the gagging order has been lifted allowing Google to flag the FBI investigation activity, though seemingly not what the US agency was investigating.

It also looks like Google has been willing to play ball with law enforcement, something tech firms don’t always do, especially if they think it’s going to set a bad precedent for government snooping and breach of user privacy. µ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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