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Google’s Larry Page Responds With “What the…?” to Reports of Government PRISM Program

Larry Page Google I/O

After word snuck out yesterday morning of a government program called PRISM, which allegedly allows the NSA and FBI to have back-door access to information from some of the world’s leading internet companies, we have seen leaders from both Facebook and Apple come out to deny that they have any knowledge of such a program. But what about Google? Any chance they have joined this super secret PRISM program and are handing over your life to the government? According to CEO Larry Page and CLO David Drummond, that is not the case at all. In fact, in a post through the official Google blog that went up moments ago, Larry Page started off the conversation with, “What the…?” 

The two make it clear that they “have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government direct access” to their servers. Like most of the world, they had not heard of PRISM until yesterday. Again, there is no direct access or back-door into their data centers.

Second, they only provide user data to governments in accordance with the law. But even when information is requested, they still review each and every request, and “frequently” push back when requests are “overly broad.”

Last, reports of PRISM and the secret data gathering techniques of the government are another confirmation to Google that “there needs to be a more transparent approach.” Google does as much as they can to be open about data requests that they receive.

Ugh.

Via:  Google

  • Harold

    BS google has been in bed with DARPA and the NSA from the getgo SCROOGLE it or STARTPAGE it

  • cb2000a

    Blame Truman…he was president when the NSA was formed.

  • Crack Monkey

    Of course they are handing over private information without the user’s knowledge and maybe often without Google’s knowledge. Google stated that they do in fact honor government requests for private information. You have an administration that routinely targets individuals and groups they view as enemies . You have Google contributing money and resources to the elections of people in this administration so is it really that far a stretch to think they would not also provide information the administration might claim help’s their cause(s). Can you really believe Larry Page when he says he knows nothing? Of course he knows nothing. He must maintain plausible deniability.

  • wmsco1

    Hutcheson , I know who you are,what you represent, what you stand for and your Agenda. Disseminate else where.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    Do what I do: Don’t support ANY of them @ all. {{-_-}}

  • James_75

    Obama gets the flack because he is in a position to do something about it. Hell, the man’s entire campaign was based on Bush-bashing and yet Obama has held on to and, in many cases, expanded the very executive orders and laws he railed against in the first place. You can blame Bush all you want but you must also recognize the sheer hypocrisy this president exudes on these matters.

    • CoryDobak

      I’m with you 100%.

  • Tuner

    Key phrase, “NO DIRECT access or back-door into their data centers”… who’s to say they’re not pushing data somewhere else?

    • Ameshican

      Exactly. Google, and I’m sure all the other tech companies are telling the truth. The government doesn’t have direct access to servers, but with the court order the companies would have to fork over the data. So Google saying, “They don’t have access to our servers! We promise!” is accurate, doesn’t mean they didn’t take all of our info and send it to the NSA. Same for any other company.

  • billracine

    How much money did Google give to Obama, wait a while, I’m sure we’ll find out that Google isn’t as “innocent” as they’re claiming right now.

    Remember, their motto is “Do no evil”, but then the definition of “evil” is up to them isn’t it?

    • michael arazan

      “The Greatest Trick The Devil ever pulled, was Convincing the World he Didn’t Exist”

    • Ameshican

      Can you really say the companies are to blame? The gov’t came with court orders. Google’s hands were tied and are forced to comply. That’s why these companies say they only give up info “in accordance with the law.” Well the law said “give us your data, these judges said so.”

  • pierre

    wtf

  • Pierre

    I know droid life needs google to operate and I am a huge android fan, but this article seems bias. Bet your ass google screens all emails and if there is subject matter that isn’t legal it gets handed over. “Second, they only provide user data to governments in accordance with the law.” They can always use the terror word and accuse anybody of anything it and get all your info. Look what the NSA just did with Verizon. I admire the optimism of whoever wrote this thing but I think it’s time for you to wake up. All these big companies are constantly gathering data about its users every time we use any of there service. Information = Power = $$$

    • James_75

      There’s a difference between a private company doing this in accordance with their user agreements and the government acting carte blanch to do whatever the hell they want without asking.

  • JasonIvers

    It would be trivial to give someone the same level of access without it being “direct”… you can have an intermediary do it. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a person/organization… if you route it through another device, you are not giving them “direct” access. I’m not generally paranoid (and I realize all Internet data is available to the government in the long run anyway), but this could pretty easily be a statement that is true by the letter but not the spirit.

    And this isn’t limited to Google, either… nearly all the companies involved (if not all) have used that same “direct access” terminology.

  • Droidzilla

    My money’s on this not being an official Google program, but rather the NSA hacking Google themselves or buying off Google employees. Standard tactics for NSA/CIA/FBI, and I wouldn’t have as much of an issue with espionage as normal were they not spying on every American citizen out there to find a few “bad sheep.”

  • David Wonderly

    And I agree 110% However, as a historical fact it was signed into law in 2001 by one man. I’m not blaming anyone, just pointing out a historical fact.

    FWIW, I hate both of ‘em and blame both of them.

    • James_75

      It may have been signed into law by Bush however that law appears to have been grossly misinterpreted by the current administration and select members of congress.

      • CoryDobak

        Select administration as well as the previous one.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    Either they are not talking about it cause of the gag order, or NSA has better networking equipment than Google.

  • http://DailyDoseOfBass.com/ idol

    He forgot to mention why Eric Schmidt is at Bilderberg

    • droidrazredge

      shhhh Larry Page does not want the public to know about that =p.

    • Harold

      DeAtH 2 ThE NeW WoRlD OrDeR

  • droidrazredge

    All this talk about Google being a part of Prism. What if droid-life was apart of this so called “Prism” program O_o all this time and they have been secretly running the show?

  • nxmehta

    How about you disclose the details of every single relationship you have with the government, instead of just “We’ve never heard of PRISM”? That would be called transparency.

    • Cowboydroid

      They do…it’s in their Transparency Report. They are far more transparent than any other company has even attempted to be.

  • Morlok8k

    of course google doesnt know about it – its probably similar to a “man in the middle attack” except they are not attacking, and just saving the communications.

  • Truthshallsetyoufree

    Who’s the next corporation to drop the soap and let people know they have secret ties with the government ? Taking bets on Google, Microsoft, ISP, Verizon( oh wait they did), Apple. The list is endless. If you really want to know who is all part of the agenda. Look at who are members of the bilderberg group and yes Eric Schmidt is a part of that group.

  • JWellington

    What the….? People still think they have privacy online?

  • 1984

    Don’t be naive, my friends. He’s lying and Google is involved. Look at Google’s history — harvesting WiFi data with Google Street View Camera, … at CEO Eric Schmidt’s comments over the years about there being no privacy, … and on and on …

  • nixript

    Did anyone see this… like i dunno 3 years ago…

    http://mirror.wikileaks.info/leak/microsoft-spy.pdf

  • 213ninja

    imagine everyone denying the top secret government program they have court issued gag orders for where no one is supposed to know about it or talk about it….huh….that’s crazy.

  • Jeff Tycz

    I think the key sentence here is “give the U.S. government DIRECT ACCESS”. there is still in-direct access through a third party

  • Ameshican

    Well of course no company just gives away info when asked which is why the NSA had a court order, which was leaked… So if the document is indeed real, and with these agencies finally coming out and saying that what they did/do is within the law, kind of proves that this is indeed going on. Google, Apple, etc. may have had to comply with the order but the NSA did not need to disclose what they called their operation. Hence why they, (google, Apple, etc.) have no idea what PRISM is.

    • ImScarred

      Yep. .. they just haven’t heard it called “PRISM” before LOL

      • droidrazredge

        haha PRISM is probably the default code name given to the public which does not actually exist. This is why they can go ahead and say they never heard about it and are not lying when they do.

  • wynalazca

    Page for President

    • Scott Webber

      I feel the urge to reply to this awesome comment, but I have nothing to add.

      What’s up, bro!

    • Wang Hoo

      Why? Because he is keeping the government program confidential as the “Justice” department requires as part of the program? Do you just think Prism is just some made up program to sell a few newspapers? A sucker is born every minute.

  • Shirtless_Peja

    Anyone want to make billions and billions of dollars? Create a pre-paid cell phone company that doesn’t keep customers records and doesn’t nickel and dime for unlimited everything.

    Easier said than done, I know.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      You can’t run a telecom business without keeping detailed call logs, as mandated by the FCC. Besides, not keeping those logs is against a company’s own self-interest, as they can be sued for something ridiculous and have no way of defending themselves.

  • Ian Smith

    can anyone explain why Larry Page’s voice is so… weird? noticed it during I/O stream and was a little freaked out

  • Scott Webber

    Even if the story is false (I tend to believe Google), the fact that we believed it plausible, coupled with the Verizon incident is serious enough.

    Our freedom and American ideals are too important to let this secret surveillance continue. The government should have the same access to data as anyone else. If a warrant grants them access to digital information, the target should be notified that the surveillance is happening.

  • Octotron

    So basically now that the cat is out of the bag, all the NSA has to do is ORDER Google to let them in and to give them information. Sweet.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      The NSA has to obtain a warrant for the information that is signed by a judge, and then is vetted by Google’s lawyers.

      So, no, the NSA can’t order Google to do jack diddly.

      • Kisuk3

        Oh sure how reassuring. Of course these warrants are never disclosed, the judges are not known, the courts invisible.

        The NSA has no need to order Google to do anything, they do what they want. There is virtually no oversight.

        • Justin Winker

          That’s what they call the secret court. There was something on CNN about it a few hours ago – they often take their warrants to a judge that isn’t well known and isn’t often able to disallow the warrants for some reason or another, but I didn’t really catch what they said.

        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          Public oversight is no guarantee of anything being any more fair or just than a program without it. Take Congressional finance disclosures for instance. They lease an Acura RDX $1000/mo. on the tax payer’s dime, but nobody seems to care that they could get from point A to point B to do their job just fine in a $100/mo Honda Civic. That’s probably a greater abuse of power than what is actually being done at the NSA.

      • Cowboydroid

        In THEORY that is what’s supposed to happen. In PRACTICE, that is not what happens. The NSA doesn’t give jack diddly about warrants.

        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          I, and I’m certain a great many others, would love to see the proof of your accusations.

          • asdf

            @justtynhutcheson:disqus Poof? Have you been living under a rock with the NSL secrecy? There was no warrant that FORCED Verizon to give over ALL of their phone records.

          • CoryDobak
          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Yes, proof. I would love some concrete evidence to support your claim that the NSA does not care about gaining lawful warrants to access the data collected via a lawful court order. Your statement about “living under a rock” is especially ironic considering that a court order obtained by the FBI on behalf of the NSA for the Verizon data set, which is not for all of their data but a specific subset of non-personally identifiable metadata from a period that extended from April 25th to July 19 of 2013, a story that I commented on at least 20 times on this site alone, is what sparked this entire controversy.

          • Cowboydroid

            There is NO “lawful” court order that can give the NSA warrant to seize information on MILLIONS of citizens at a time. Such an order would be in direct violation of the 4th Amendment.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            The 4th amendment is a protection against the search and seizure of personal property (a protection which has been extended to personal data as well) without probable cause. The court order was issued based on the PATRIOT Act, which allows for the obtainment of business records that may be related to an investigation of terrorist activities. Since the data does not, in whole or in part, identify any person, and it belongs to a business, the 4th amendment is not applicable. Therefore, the court order is entirely lawful. If the NSA wants to use that data in any way that does identify a person, they must obtain a warrant, for which they would need probable cause that comes from independent sources beyond the data that they obtained via the court order in order to satisfy the 4th amendment rights of an American citizen or resident alien.

      • Truthshallsetyoufree

        the NSA is like Judge Dredd. They are above the law.

  • coolsilver

    Yep not surprised. Facebook for the last several years has been part of this. I am sure Google+ is as well. Ever wonder why they want your Full Real Name and only ONE profile per person?

    • EvanTheGamer

      You can always use a fake name on Facebook though(they don’t check).

      And it does make sense that you are only allowed one profile. If you want more, create more accounts. It sucks that you have to log in and out and in again, but that’s the way it goes.

      • http://Fifth-Quarter.org/ Jacob

        They actually do a minor check. I tried to make a profile named Black Bear one time and it told me that “Black” isn’t a valid first name….

        • EvanTheGamer

          Oh, right. Guess I forgot that they do check. Just use a fake legitimate name then and you’re set. lol

  • Tim242

    That’s just it…in accordance to law means that the government has full access. If anyone still thinks we live in a “free” country, they should have their heads checked.

    • ImScarred

      One always needs to watch how things are worded, especially when dealing with political hot topics. Not to mention, that the government may NOT need “direct access” to any of these companies servers to intercept said information.

      What we DO KNOW is that the US government is surveilling the public, while they mat couch that as “foreigners” the general public, admittedly, is caught in the web.

    • Cowboydroid

      Depends on whose law you appeal to. If you appeal to federal fascist law, sure. If you appeal to the Constitution, that’s a different story.

      And yes, there is a glaring difference.

      Unfortunately, appealing to the Constitution doesn’t get you very far these days.

    • Brandon Golway

      That’s exactly what I was about to say, how can we be 100% sure that this isn’t a “Cover your ass” approach? I’m sure if this super-secret program DOES exist there has to be some super hardcore non-disclosure agreement that says something like “If you ever reveal that this program exists, we’ll murder your whole family and make it look like you never existed.”

      Yes, Larry is a good guy and Google isn’t an evil company, but when your business resides in a certain country, you have to obey that country’s laws. If the government says “let us wiretap you or we’ll find a way to shut down Google for good!” I’m pretty sure they’d at least give them some access. Also notice how it says “Direct Access”, which obviously isn’t needed, they just hand it over at will.

  • Samvelavich

    America: Leader in innovation and stupid laws.

    • Reginald Jefferson

      #truestory

  • Steve

    Big O supporter …you can trust him im sure…

    • Darkwing_Duck

      Big O? If you are referring to Obama, this has been going on long before he was elected. The reason they can do this is because of the Patriot Act. That was made into law by President Bush in October 2001 after it passed a Republican controlled house and a Split Senate. 12 years ago.

      While this is in use under this president, make no mistake. As long as the Patriot Act is still there, it will continue to be used by any president.

      This has nothing to do with who is in power, it has everything to do with the power that is granted.

      • mustbepbs
      • Mr E

        No, I think he meant Oprah ;)

      • rfranken

        never gets old for some people. ever. 200 years from now. it was bush’s fault the martians became our overlords.

        • David Wonderly

          Oh don’t misunderstand that comment. It was not intended to bash Bush. While I disliked him as president I also dislike our current one. It was to point out the history of how it was possible. If this tosses an unfavorable light on someone then that isn’t me bashing someone, its historical fact. It has gotten old blaming Bush for stuff. However, this is a bill passed through legislation and signed into law. No matter a political pulling, these are facts and facts alone. Not conjecture, not politics, just plain facts.

          • rfranken

            So this Patriot Act allows the NSA and FBI to have direct access to everything we send in any format….ever? From my reading it sounds like a lot is going on that isn’t allowed by the Patriot Act. They are collecting everything, breaking laws and our rights.

          • David Wonderly

            It’s a fine line on how it is interpreted.

          • cb2000a

            The Patriot act should be repealed. Last years NDAA should be looked at too. We are giving way too much freedom away. You can no longer afford to be apathetic.

        • samari711

          It passed the Senate 99-1, only Russ Feingold was brave enough to stand up to the hysterical overreaction to 9/11. both parties are to blame here.

      • Truthshallsetyoufree

        That same power that was granted was similar to what was given to Hitler during Reichstag burning and was then later planned on quote on quote “Terrorism” which gave Hitler power to create the Enabling Act History does indeed repeat itself. Fast forward to 9/11 my aren’t there eery similarities with a Patriot Act and a quote on quote blaming on “Terrorism”

        • jdhas

          I think you meant “quote unquote.” Might want to add some tin foil to your hat, son.

      • Bill

        Funny he can pick and choose which laws he will uphold after swearing to uphold them all. DOMA immigration laws meh…And its always good to point out how long its been going on rather than the fact he campaigned on ending such practices….now all you little worshipers vote down now…I didn’t vote for the last president either but you hypocrites make me sick.

        • David Wonderly

          How am I hypocritical? History is not hypocritical… Its history.

        • James_75

          What’s a DOMA immigration law?

          • CoryDobak

            There should be a comma in there. Doma, Immigration.

            Basically, he’s mad that Obama doesn’t hate Mexicans and queers.

        • CoryDobak

          Have a snickers dude, you’re out of control.