Google CEO Page: U.S. gov't doesn't have direct access to our servers

Google CEO Page: U.S. gov't doesn't have direct access to our servers

Summary: Google isn't alone in trying to clear its name in whatever way possible following the firestorm that erupted on Thursday afternoon.

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Google CEO Larry Page published a letter on Friday afternoon with what he described as "the facts" about the Internet giant's relationship with the classified "PRISM" project.

To recall, according to reports from the Washington Post and the Guardian this week, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been secretly mining user data from the central servers at nine major Silicon Valley companies.

That group consists of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and video chat room community PalTalk.

Apparently Dropbox was slated to be the next one added to the list.

But Page asserted that Google has never heard of the U.S. government program PRISM, reiterating the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's policies for handling government requests.

Here's an excerpt, co-signed with Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond:

Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

Google isn't alone in trying to clear its name in whatever way possible following the firestorm that erupted on Thursday afternoon.

Apple came out on the defensive first, declaring it had never even heard of the PRISM project. Facebook and Microsoft also denied any involvement or a "back door" for U.S. government agencies.

Nevertheless, President Obama (following suit from other government officials) has spoken out in defense of the program, asking the American people to trust that the data is being used for national security purposes.

Topics: Government US, Big Data, Google, Legal, Privacy

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18 comments
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  • No Direct Access

    How nice, you mean they have to use the selector portal at Fort Meade?
    Robert Harvey-Kinsey
    • Something like :

      Data just goes to CIA's cloud, no human is reading, so it is not spying, it is just an algorithm that automatically process and comes up with a terrorist suspect ranking...
      giantiago
  • some of you guys told me

    the government had access to google's servers. We'll if that's true then looks like you might as well assume any web site might have gov't access.
    Then you said MS kept my data private, unlike google. Now turns out MS was the first to cave in to gov't requests to look through customer data. Looks like im getting scrooed-by-MS as much as anybody.
    drwong
    • All your Life are belong to us

      .
      daikon
    • Hmm. How did this become about MS? Oh yeah

      the old bait and switch - change the subject before people start talking negatively about Google.
      ;)
      William Farrel
      • Will, You did not read the article or the links

        “That group consists of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and video chat room community PalTalk.”

        “Google isn't alone in trying to clear its name in whatever way possible following the firestorm that erupted on Thursday afternoon.”
        http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/06/google-facebook-apple-deny-participation-in-nsa-prism-program/

        Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Yahoo, Microsoft, Paltalk, AOL And Apple Deny Participation In NSA PRISM Surveillance Progra
        RickLively
      • I wonder who they learned it from

        It couldn't have been any MS-fans; all of whom are totally objective scrupulously honest, as befitting the most ethical company ever to employ Steve Ballmer.
        John L. Ries
      • Umm

        It isn't just Google! They're saying that pretty much ever major US tech company gave them access.
        slickjim
  • told you so!

    unlike M$, Apple or Oracle, Google respects your privacy.
    LlNUX Geek
    • google gave it up

      like a $2 hooker.
      hoppmang
  • It makes sense - Google doesn't share their data with the government

    They keep it all for themselves, and of course their paying partners.
    Why should they share the profits with outsiders?
    William Farrel
  • Google CEO Page: U.S. gov't doesn't have direct access to our servers

    Hah! That's what you think. I'm bet they have direct access through their own hacker network.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • Who has this hacker network you made up?

      “I'm bet they have direct access through their own hacker network.”
      RickLively
      • The government

        And don't think that they don't.
        Loverock-Davidson
    • Hackers

      can hack into MS' servers,too.
      Vish2801
  • Seems like a weasily response

    Of course Google will say the government doesn't have direct access to their servers - that doesn't mean Google isn't giving the government the information, it just means Google thinks they have control over their servers s- and may happily be giving the NSA synopsis's of our emails and g+ circles every day.

    If the phone companies are being hit for "meta data" about our phones calls, I would find it hard to believe that the social, and email networks aren't being asked to deliver the "meta data" as well.
    marque2
  • I lied to you before...

    ...therefore you should believe me now. Uhh huh.

    The REALLY funny thing is that the crazy nut-jobs on late night radio were right all along! Who would have thunk it???
    Tony Burzio
  • LARRY PAGE IS A TERORRIST

    Just two words for Larry Page.....FUCK YOU, YOU PIECE OF SHIT
    Tony Simmon