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Well, it appears that direct access doesn't mean direct access, it means FTP and good old fashioned hand delivery:
How does Google GOOG -1.17% hand over data to the government? By old-fashioned secure “file transfer protocol,” or FTP. And sometimes even by hand.
That detail, which Google disclosed for the first time late Tuesday, contrasts with earlier reports that claimed the government had special access to its network and to those of other technology companies.
Chris Gaither, a Google spokesman, said that when the company receives court orders to provide information to the government, it usually does so with secure FTP, a method of sending encrypted files over the Internet.
And occasionally, Google hands over files to the government in person, he said. (He declined to say when and why they use the manual approach.)
In other words, Google “pushes” information for the government rather than allow the government to “pull” information directly from Google’s system, Gaither said. He said the company has pushed back on attempts by governments to get more direct access, but he didn’t provide details.
“We refuse to participate in any program — for national security or other reasons — that requires us to provide governments with access to our systems or to install their equipment on our networks,” Gaither said.
Seems to me nobody is asking the key question here: Why does Google have your personal information in the first place? Because if Google didn't have it, neither would the NSA.
Why do you need to give Google your personal information to send an email or conduct a search? Why does Google feel the need to store data about you at all? No national reporter ever asks them those questions. But its good to know that they've cleared up how Google delivers your personal information. Because now that I know its FTP rather than SQL, I feel a whole lot better.