The recent incidents surrounding Prism, a large scale electronic surveillance program managed by the NSA, have sparked a new privacy debate in the United States and around the world. While alleged whistleblower Edward Snowden is hiding from U.S. authorities to avoid prosecution for possible treason, the discussion about the necessary trade offs between personal freedom and national security has sprung back to life.
Technology companies such as Google and Facebook have denied allegations that they granted the NSA wide-ranging access to user data. Both companies are currently seeking permission to publish aggregate data about NSA data inquiries, in order to maintain a large degree of transparency and regain user trust.
In a move that would help Google (GOOG) continue its push beyond the Internet and into the realm of consumer electronics, the company reportedly plans to open its own retail stores ahead of the holidays this year. 9to5Google says a single “extremely reliable source” confirmed that Google will open stores in several major metropolitan areas across the United States. The stores will reportedly be used to showcase and sell the company’s Nexus-brand devices as well as computers running Chrome OS. The stores may also be a perfect place to show off Motorola’s upcoming “X Phone.” Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.