The NSA has found itself in the news again, this time delving into how close their relationship has been with the heads of Google. That sounds frightening at first, until we dig deeper in to find that the NSA's high level communication with Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt was actually on the more beneficial side of security, with the NSA working with Google (as well as Microsoft and Apple) to secure vulnerabilities in their products.
Of course, we have to wonder whether the NSA's efforts were entirely above board, given the revelations about their mass surveillance activities. It questions whether or not the NSA's contributions to Android are what they say they are. While the NSA is partly a spy agency of the United States federal government, they're also a security agency, charged with protecting the electronic infrastructure of the United States.
It's a strange dichotomy of missions the NSA handles. While one hand is helping to build a stronger safe, the other is working to find its way inside that safe. Al Jazeera America reports that NSA Director General Keith Alexander personally invited Brin and Schmidt to a classified briefing on the Enduring Security Framework. The ESF is reported to be an effort by the NSA to "coordinate government/industry actions on important (generally classified) security issues that couldn't be solved by individual actors alone."
The ESF includes the NSA, Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and 18 CEOs from US tech firms, and was apparently responsible for helping patch a critical vulnerability in BIOS software.
Source: Al Jazeera America