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.