Schmidt: NSA spying on Google "not OK"

Schmidt: NSA spying on Google "not OK"

Summary: In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt lashes out at the NSA over reports that it spied on the company's data centers.

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TOPICS: Security, Google
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NSA spying on Google data centers is "outrageous" and potentially illegal, if proven, says Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

NSA.logo

In the interview, Schmidt says that the infiltration of the data centers did not show good judgment and was "not OK."

Schmidt criticized other NSA activities and the broad approach of massive data collection. He specifically mentioned telephone metadata collection, saying that collecting records on 320 million people to catch 300 who might be a risk is "…just bad public policy…and perhaps illegal."

Google has registered complaints with the NSA, the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama. Schmidt was a major donor to the Obama campaign and has been an advisor both to the campaign and the administration.

The WSJ cites an NSA response which states that the reports of their spying on Google and Yahoo! data centers contained errors and that the agency complies with all relevant laws.

Topics: Security, Google

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29 comments
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  • Might be illegal?? MIGHT BE!!!

    Amendment IV
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    ====================================

    There is absolutely no way that the things the NSA is doing can meet the 4th Amendment warrant requirement of " particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    There isn't any "MIGHT BE" here and ZDNet, as part of the "press" protected by the !st Amendment should be publishing SCREAMING headlines about how "illegal" UNCONSTITUTIONAL this warrentless mass surveillance is.
    blankballot2004
    • Obsolete

      Such a foolish comment about a foolish document. The people have voted, and safety and security - provided by the govt - is what they want. Get over it.
      HackerJ
      • what?

        The people have voted to repel the constitution? When was that vote again?
        Jean-Pierre-
      • Stupid

        I hope you are being sarcastiic. As an American I am NOT amsued, I still beliieve in our constitution not the giving up of our rights for soem suposed security.
        RGeisler_3006
        • stop posting online.....

          no one ever promised you privacy online. And if it bothers you so much that privacy has been lost, cut the umbilical, have some quality time with people around you (look them in the eye and speak to them)...something that this generation has no idea how to do.
          Charles_B
          • No one ever promised you a brain...

            ...evidently.

            I don't even understand what kind of a point you might trying to be making.

            " cut the umbilical, have some quality time with people around you (look them in the eye and speak to them)...something that this generation has no idea how to do."

            Okay Granddad. What an obtuse comment, given its being made online.

            Your the guys I love who would be outraged if some idiot came knocking on your door asking you about some recent Google search that was done from your house.

            Always the same short sighted response to that issue; "what, my house? Nothing to hide here"

            Then they come knocking and its all "Whats going on here?? I didn't do anything wrong, why should I have to explain myself".

            I just don't understand people at all who think that because they are a law abiding citizen themselves, that absolutely ridiculous and utterly obnoxious breaches in personal privacy by the government is fine. Its as if they cannot imagine the government ever putting their nose in where it dosnt belong. If the government interferes with someones life, its all good because the government dosnt make mistakes and they are never in the wrong, and people, particularly people not involved in illegal activities have no need for any particular level of personal privacy.

            Stay squeaky clean, live your life like a monk and you have nothing to fear from government spying on private citizens.

            Until the government finds they have a problem with monks.

            The lack of foresight and insight is appalling. Its atrocious beyond belief.

            Freedom is like so many things in life. When you stop placing the proper value on it, its not long before it slips away into the hands of someone who will gladly take it away because they know the true value. Only someone's absolutely stark inability to think beyond their own personal thoughts about their own high and mighty station in life would not see the incredibly important value of protecting ALL citizens rights under the law.

            Simply saying that so long as you keep doing everything the government likes you to do and never do or think about anything the government doesn't like you to think or do, you will be just fine, dosnt make even a small bit of sense in a free and democratic society.

            Welcome to China; whats next, bring on the 'Green Dam Youth Escort' software?

            Some people make me sick. They would sell their own children to wolves if it could help prove their political opinion was right.
            Cayble
      • ?

        What??

        " The people have voted, and safety and security - provided by the govt - is what they want. Get over it."

        Ummm...you say they held a vote on this issue??

        Please...provide a link to the evidence of this, and the results of this vote you speak of.
        Cayble
    • Relax, breathe deeply and take a valium-then think.....

      everything that our fore-fathers dealt with was written. ONLY. The came thwe internet and the lines were blurred. What is written is the same as what is typed on and viewed in cyberspace? Yes it is. The please tell us, oh violent yet knowledegable one, what forces you to access, use and share data with others on the net. So, if you post anything and everything to the four winds, does that constitute a violation? I say not, and it will never be. I bet you laugh at so many "seniors" who barely know how to use a computer. Youi get mad because they are so stupid and can barely send an email. Those same seniors are laughing at you now because they do not have a profile (permanent) etched on the internet. Ever wonder why the US never gave up control of the main "backbone" servers? 95% of ALL traffic passes through them, daily. Times have changed, morals and customs have changed, but yet, you GUYS who harp on the loss of privacy seem to foget you are the SAME people that have FB, Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, Twitter, and other accounts. You don't see so upset when you post info that really shouldn't, but when someone mines that same info, you scream bloody murder. It used to ge that the King was the ONLY one who took away your freedom, nowadays YOU are the only ones who openly give away private information......
      Charles_B
      • Can I ask

        if you'd feel the same way if they were opening your mail and reading it before sending it on? Would you be quite so relaxed if every time you picked up your telephone, someone in the background was pressing record on the tape recorder? Or would that be perfectly okay as well? If your were viewing a catalogue in your lounge, you wouldn't mind someone from the government standing behind you making a note of everything you viewed for storage in a central register back at base?

        The problem you seem to either not grasp or choose to ignore, is that it's not the facebook posts or the myspace pages that people are complaining about. Surfing activities are tracked by multiple organisations but most people have (had) an assumption that email was private and wasn't posting it to the world, no different to posting a letter. In your terms, it's not about the neighbourhood news that someone prints for local distribution, it's about the personal details in post and telephone calls that are being collected.
        That's before you get into the precedent setting that is happening. While you're happy with your current 'supreme rulers', what happens if things turn sour and suddenly those past, perfectly acceptable searches or emails, are now considered to be against state thinking?
        Little Old Man
        • My other point was

          Choice. You choose what you post in public, you choose what you thought was being kept private. It seems there never was a choice.
          Little Old Man
          • Exactly.

            Reading the texts, email, and documents you send privately to others is NOT the same as monitoring a public Facebook page. Listening to your private phone conversations is also not the same. They are doing all of this and much more. The fact is, the Constitution expressly forbids this activity. The Bill of Rights is the set of rules our government is supposed to follow while serving us. THEY are not allowed to change the rules we set for them. Only WE are allowed to change them, and we haven't.

            The bottom line is, they have been, and are continuing to break the law. They, as our servants, are not above the law. They should pay for their crimes like any other citizen. They have given themselves more power than we intended for them to have. It makes me sick that so many simple-minded sheeple think what the NSA is doing is reasonable. This nation is supposed to be a democratic Federation of States. The Federal government was intended to serve needs of the States, not the other way around. It was created as a solution to maintaining a single shared military force and to regulate interstate commerce.

            Our federal government has instead become a police state ruled by an oppressive regime that completely ignores human rights whenever they conflict with the goals of the regime. Our leaders are figurehead puppets entirely controlled by the special interests of a very powerful group of shadowy manipulators. These people are all about tight worldwide control. They have a one world agenda, where the sovereignty of states or even nations is completely irrelevant. Keep in mind, martial law is only a single signature away from being our daily reality and worldwide circumstances can be easily manipulated to warrant that action when less than 1% of people control 98% of the world's wealth. Our situation is far more precarious than anyone realizes.
            BillDem
      • Completely cockeyed pointless off topic post.

        "everything that our fore-fathers dealt with was written. ONLY. The came thwe internet and the lines were blurred"

        "if you post anything and everything to the four winds, does that constitute a violation? I say not, and it will never be"

        "I bet you laugh at so many "seniors" who barely know how to use a computer. Youi get mad because they are so stupid and can barely send an email. Those same seniors are laughing at you now because they do not have a profile (permanent) etched on the internet"

        "Times have changed, morals and customs have changed, but yet, you GUYS who harp on the loss of privacy seem to foget you are the SAME people that have FB, Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, Twitter, and other accounts"

        "You don't see so upset when you post info that really shouldn't, but when someone mines that same info, you scream bloody murder"

        Above comments made in relation to remarks about an article titled "Schmidt: NSA spying on Google "not OK"

        ???

        Lets just see if they even have any point.

        Point 1.
        Wow. That almost sounds like it means something unless you take at least a second or two to think about it and how it may or may not apply to the issue and questions at hand. And as it turns out, it dosnt. At all. Everything our forefathers dealt with was written and along came the internet and lines were blurred? What the heck does that mean? So today, we write things made public, as did our forefathers, and today we write things to be distributed privately, as did our forefathers. When our forefathers posted things publicly, they had no expectation of privacy. Likewise today, when we post things publicly we have no expectation of privacy. When our forefathers sent private mails they had a reasonable expectation of privacy as we would today. The internet dosnt blur those kinds of lines in any way. It’s a mental block of a so called point.

        Point 2.
        If you post anything and everything to the four winds of course you have no expectation of privacy. Why would you…REALLY, why would you? Who says or thinks you would? Who said that??? Nobody, that’s who. When people post anything and everything to the four winds you don’t need illegal spying. You just go and look. Its on the four winds, there is no spying. What a dumb stupid pointless remark. The remark has no relation to people spying on you to get private information. Its not related and has no place even being in the conversation.

        Point 3.
        People who laugh at seniors because they don’t know how to email now have seniors laughing at them because the seniors have no public internet profile everyone can just look at? Again, what the hell is this supposed to do with the government spying on PRIVATE information? Nothing, that’s what. Who are all these people laughing at seniors who are now apparently thought nobody would look at their own PUBLIC Facebook page or their Linked in profile??? This is again idiot commentary. Nobody needs to, or does spy on publicly accessed pages, its on the four winds and its been put there for ALL to see on purpose. If someone didn’t understand that, then ya, more fool them, they would be an idiot then sure. It has nothing to do with ILLEGAL SPYING.

        Point 4.
        Same issue, except for email accounts like a Hotmail, Yahoo or Google email account. That’s supposed to be private. Just like hand written letters by our forefathers were supposed to be private…with no blurry lines relating to that. Again, another off topic remark that seems to confuse different issues altogether.

        Point 5.
        People don’t seem so upset when they post info they shouldn’t, but do get upset when the info is mined? Again, what nonsense is this? People who put info on PUBLICLY accessed sites do so purposely. There is no spying involved, and if they didn’t know that they are morons, completely and have no privacy argument. People who use the internet to share information privately, like email for example DO need to be spied on to get that private information and its not right and they DO have a privacy argument.

        Some people are so far out in left field they are no longer in the game and should realize it and stop pretending to be still playing.
        Cayble
    • Strangely enough, it may actually be legal...

      since the datacenters that were targeted were overseas, and thus outside of US territory and US laws.

      To data, borders mean nothing, but to US law, borders can be a defining characteristic on what is legal and what is not.
      D. W. Bierbaum
      • It falls under another law.

        That's spying and illegal in any country.
        bart001fr
      • Ya, we sometimes forget....

        ..its perfectly legal for the government to break other countries laws.

        Thanks for the update and reminder. Its a point too often forgotten.
        Cayble
  • Pot. Kettle.

    Etc., etc., etc.
    Userama
    • I am glad someone else saw the irony here

      Google moaning about their data being snooped on? They did not like it, now what makes them think that the clients like having their email snooped on by Google, just so Google can sell more advertising?
      Putertechn
  • look in the mirror

    before you make such a statement in public. it is his opinion, and it is no worse than your's, he just did not make a personal attack to express his.
    Putertechn
  • Using Goggle is fine, hacking them isn't.

    Let's face, if the NSA merely used the Google search engine, I'd find it impossible to complain about their surveillence since that tool is available to everyone.

    I have a much bigger complaint if they hack the metadata on everyone rather than getting a warrant for a specific person's data.

    On the other hand, I did get a friendly interview with some federal law enforcers last week for posting what I thought should happen to some guy who, according to the article, was allowing hand grenades and IEDs to walk across the border to the mexican drug cartels. I am ASSUMING they got my real name and phone number using a warrant to the website. But with these classified security letters, who knows? Big Brother IS watching.

    And no, I have neither the time nor the desire to become some criminal vigillante or mastermind. I work for a living and blog for a hobby.
    Dr_Zinj
  • Does anyone find it ironic...

    ...that the company that is best known for spying on all our daily activities is now sore that they got spied on???

    Yes, what the NSA did is abhorrent. But, of all the companies to whine about hoarding data on people, it really shouldn't be Google. Pot, meet kettle.

    Ah, it's all okay because we give our tacit approval just by using their services, right? So the NSA must be operating with the theory that the fact that the American People haven't stormed their offices and thrown them out windows or put them in jail must mean we approve and encourage their behavior? No?

    I'm getting conflicting signals here.
    Zorched