The U.S. Federal appeals court on Friday upheld the National Security Agency’s decision not to release the public documents confirming or denying any relationship it has with Google concerning encryption and cybersecurity.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, invoking the Freedom of Information Act, had sought such documents following the January 2010 cyberattack on Google that targeted the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
EPIC sought documents seeking to know what type of collaboration there was between Google and the NSA and, among other things, records of communication between the NSA and Google concerning Google’s e-mail service Gmail.
The attack was among the considerations that prompted Google to consider abandoning China, and Google announced that it was “working with the relevant U.S. authorities.”
On appeal, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the NSA’s conclusion that admitting the existence of relevant documents would harm national security.
According to Wired report, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, in a 3-0 opinion, sided with the government’s contention that acknowledging any records “might reveal whether the NSA investigated the threat,” or “deemed the threat a concern to the security of the U.S. government.”