Google’s Schmidt: NSA Spying on Data Centers Is ‘Outrageous’

HONG KONG—Google Inc.GOOG +0.43% Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt bristled at reports that the U.S. government allegedly spied on the company’s data centers, describing such an act as “outrageous” and potentially illegal if proven.

“It’s really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that’s true. 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,” Mr. Schmidt told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Sunday. “The Snowden revelations have assisted us in understanding that it’s perfectly possible that there are more revelations to come.”

Mr. Schmidt said Google had registered complaints with the NSA, as well as PresidentBarack Obama and members of Congress.

Google Inc.’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is seen in New York in this Sept. 26, 2013, file photo. Associated Press

“The National Security Agency allegedly collected the phone records of every phone call of 320 million people in order to identify roughly 300 people who might be a risk. That’s just bad public policy…and perhaps illegal,” he said.

When contacted Monday, the NSA referred to its statement last week that said recent press articles about the NSA’s collection had misstated facts and mischaracterized the NSA’s activities.

“NSA conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies—and assertions to the contrary do a grave disservice to the nation, its allies and partners, and the men and women who make up the National Security Agency,” it said in a statement last week.

Mr. Schmidt said in the interview that the right balance of security and privacy starts with finding the appropriate level of oversight.

“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,” he said.

Separately, Mr. Schmidt said Google is in no hurry to expand in China, given the extent of censorship in the world’s second-largest economy.

Google abandoned its China-based search engine in 2011 on censorship concerns and rerouted its search service to Hong Kong.

“China’s censorship regime has gotten significantly worse since we left so something would have to change before we come back,” he said.

Danny Yadron in San Francisco contributed to this article.

NSA据报导监视了Google数据中心之间的未加密数据流,Google执行主席 Eric Schmidt称这一行动骇人听闻,如果获得证实可能将是非法的。他说,NSA为了识别大约300位潜在具有危险性的嫌疑人而收集3.2亿美国人的电话数据,这是一项糟糕的公共政策。他认为需要在隐私和安全之间保持恰当的平衡。他说,恶人确实存在,但你不能为了除恶而侵犯每一位美国公民的隐私。Schmidt还表示,Google并不匆忙去扩大中国市场,因为中国审查制度在Google退出后急剧恶化,“除非发生改变我们不会返回”。他认为,营造开放氛围,允许言论自由,将有助中国免于落入所谓的“中等收入陷阱”。他表示中国面临的最严重问题是人口老龄化,“独生子女政策是个可怕的错误。”


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