From inception, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military and intelligence community, including the CIA’s In-Q-Tel investment arm.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s 1994 invention that would eventually become Google’s search service was funded by a $4.5 million grant from the Digital Library Initiative, a multi-agency program of the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Brin also received funding through the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the National Security Agency and the CIA. Brin regularly briefed the CIA’s Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine.
The ultimate vision of the MDDS initiative was to “provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment” for use by the Pentagon and the intelligence community.
The MDDS initiative eventually developed into DARPA’s Evidence Extraction and Link Detection program. EELD was among a range of “promising techniques” being prepared for integration “into the prototype TIA system.” TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11.
In 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under a special contract with the CIA.
In 2005, it was revealed that a US intelligence agency was working to “leverage Google’s [user] data monitoring” capability as part of an effort to acquire data of “national security intelligence interest.”
In 2007, the Washington Post reported that Google was selling the government new “enhanced versions of Google Earth” and “search engines that can be used internally by agencies.”
In 2010, Google signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security.
In 2012, NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander emailed Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, Gen. Alexander described Google as a “key member of [the US military’s] Defense Industrial Base.”