Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has revealed that the US government has made "requests" for the search giant to share information about its users, and that Google would comply if the requests were legal.
During his flying visit to Sydney, ZDNet.com.au asked Schmidt whether, if Google was sharing information with the US government, the company would admit to it.
"That's a good question," Schmidt said. "The US government has attempted to get us to give them information and we have a very strong legal system in the US — as you do — and that legal system is really important, in terms of limiting random explorations by governments."
"The technical answer is that we do not collaborate with governments unless they are following their normal course of business; they have to actually follow all of their procedures. In that case, if that were occurring, they would have had to follow all of their procedures."
ZDNet.com.au asked if the Patriot Act bypasses "normal" procedures. "Let's not have a debate about the Patriot Act — there is Patriot 1, Patriot 2... There is a lot of litigation in the courts about all of that," Schmidt said.
"We are subject to US law. The good news is that we are very aggressive about making sure that any requests we get are absolutely legal," Schmidt added.