The recent revelation from the seemingly bottomless Edward Snowden pile-o-secrets concerned the NSA intercepting traffic from Google's high speed fiber network. Because this only happened on data outside the US, we assumed it was for spying on foreign interests, which seemed "sort of okay" as a policy for the US security arm. Not so fast, Skippy. Because of the nature of Google's data network infrastructure, a BIG can of worms has been opened up, allowing the NSA a sort of weird plausible deniability. I don't know about you, but I find all this pretty discouraging.
BetaNewsData replication, which is there for reasons of both performance and fault tolerance, means that when the GCHQ in London is accessing the Google data center there, they have access to all Google data, not just Google’s UK data or Google’s European data. All Google data for all users no matter where they are is reachable through any Google data center anywhere, thanks to the Google File System.
This knocks a huge hole in the legal safe harbor the NSA has been relying on in its use of data acquired overseas, which assumes that overseas data primarily concerns non-US citizens who aren’t protected by US privacy laws or the FISA Court. The artifice is that by GCHQ grabbing data for the NSA and the NSA presumably grabbing data for GCHQ, both agencies can comply with domestic laws and technically aren’t spying on their own citizens when in fact that’s exactly what they have been doing.