Android uses code written by NSA

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It’s safe to say that the NSA is pretty low on the list of most people’s favorite government organizations these days (if people even make lists like that), but recent reports are also calling into question Google’s credibility, as it seems the company’s Android mobile operating system has had some involvement with the NSA.

According to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, it turns out that the NSA has contributed some source code to Android. The NSA actually began working with Android in 2011 to help make the operating system more secure, and some of the code that it wrote already runs on a handful of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

Apparently, the NSA, which has also contributed security-related code to Linux in the past, wants to protect these types of flexible and free open source operating systems because they’re useful for government systems, so by helping Google to fortify the operating system, the NSA is actually making it better for its own systems.

Google spokeswoman has confirmed NSA’s involvement and has said anyone can contribute to Android as it is open-source, and the source code is freely available for all to see on Android’s website.

Of course there will be questions raised as to NSA’s true intentions for contributing code to Android but, as Android Authority points out, anyone who is worried about NSA’s involvement can review the source code NSA wrote, as Android’s code is downloadable from Android’s website. Granted, having the source code out in the open will not quell the fears of all but I’d much rather use an open-source system that has NSA’s involvement than a closed-source system that has NSA’s involvement. The lesser of two evils, if you will. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Bloomberg, Android Authority]

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6 comments

  1. Louis

    “The NSA actually began working with Android in 2011 ” —- so if this is so above board and nothing to be concerned about, why have they waited 2+ years to come clean about their involvement ?

    It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their recent screw-ups, could it …. better come clean before someone another Eddie does it for them !!

    And this part is especially suspect & makes no sense :

    “…. to help make the operating system more secure, and some of the code that it wrote already runs on a handful of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

    Apparently, the NSA, which has also contributed security-related code to Linux in the past, wants to protect these types of flexible and free open source operating systems because they’re useful for government systems, so by helping Google to fortify the operating system, the NSA is actually making it better for its own systems. ”

    Of course Android is open source — but this means anyone can MODIFY IT FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES !!!

    If the NSA wants to use the available open source Android code, and modify it according to THEIR needs, given their poor track record as of late, they can keep their modified code for their OWN purposes — they should not be allowed to re-enter their TOXIC modifications to the published open source available to others —- how would others be able to distinguish the TOXIC NSA contributions from the rest of the open source code ??

    This then means the TOXIC NSA code is already running on the specific commercial standardised versions of Android, like that of Samsung and HTC end others, which we all know in it’s final form has departed from the open source version of Android, to be compatible with the specs and feautures of their specific phone models.

    So what the heck is the NSA code doing on THEIR commercial Android versions, it has no place there, given the recent scandals regarding this very issue of the NSA breaching cellphone privacy.

    Seriously, who in their right minds would believe a Government Agency, one as tainted as the NSA above all, would do work for free on what will end up as commercial products ? And of course, the NSA being what is is turning out to be, does not need to be paid in money, but in free intelligence.

    And of course, we all know that intelligence it will receive in abundance, from what it’s ‘free’ work will produce, the efforts being open source or not.

    And the same argument can go for throwing in that tidbit about Linux, as though that’s any more assuring !

    Google, what the hell is wrong with you lately ??? Accepting, and defending, this kind of trash, together with all your other strange behaviour ?

    Why am I ranting ? Just got a Samsung Galaxy ….

    [@Switch-kun] : Thanks, I may just follow your advice !