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Google's Eric Schmidt: NSA data-center spying 'outrageous,' 'not OK'

updated 12:53 pm EST, Mon November 4, 2013

Search giant registers complaints with NSA, Obama

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has spoken out against the National Security Agency, arguing that spying activities on data centers are "outrageous" and "not OK," according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal (sub. required). The executive further suggests that collecting phone records on 320 million people in an attempt to identify "roughly 300 people" is also "bad public policy ... and perhaps illegal."

"It's really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true," Schmidt said. "The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people's privacy, it's not OK."

The comments represent a further escalation in public criticism from companies that have been named in leaks from former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Recent reports claim the NSA and its UK partners successfully intercepted information sent to and from global data centers owned by Google and Yahoo, allegedly without the companies' permission or knowledge.

"There clearly are cases where evil people exist, but you don't have to violate the privacy of every single citizen of America to find them," Schmidt added.

The company has reportedly submitted formal complaints with the NSA, President Barack Obama and members of the US Congress. The NSA has defended its actions, claiming that it "conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies" with methods that protect the privacy of US citizens.

by MacNN Staff





  1. jameshays

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-10-03

    Isn't this the same guy that stated that people don't require privacy any more? Maybe that was facebook. There's too many privacy pimps these days.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Google doesn't like competition, apparently.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-03-09

    Originally Posted by chas_mView Post

    Google doesn't like competition, apparently.

    chas_m, even a tool like yourself knows there is a difference between anonymous gathering of cookies for the purpose of advertising as opposed to gathering of emails, phone calls/records for the purpose of "identifying" and tracking certain personnel.

    You Americans have bigger concerns than El Goog pushing ads for what favorite restaurant you like to eat at or your favorite handbags you like to use when dressing up in drag.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    wrenchy, even a tool like yourself knows there is a difference between a joke and serious commentary. And last time I checked, chas_m wasn't American, though I could be wrong.

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Junior Member

    Joined: 12-14-11

    wrenchy: Of course there is a difference between gathering of cookies for purposes of advertising and what the NSA is doing. But the point is that Google is not always up front about what it does (such as collecting information or ordering of search results) so their outrage is a bit misplaced.

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-13-09

    How dare they use mass-warrants to get our data. They should pay retail rates just like everybody else!

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