back to article The Schmidt hits the Man: NSA spying on Google servers? 'OUTRAGEOUS!'

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has branded the NSA's alleged surveillance of web giants' data centers "outrageous". Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt lashed out at American spooks after documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested Google and Yahoo! data center links were being snooped on. "It's …


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  1. N2

    Ha ha ha

    Pot, kettle, black?

    1. petur

      Re: Ha ha ha

      Well, there is a small difference between Google serving you ads based on your data, or police turning up at your door because you happened to look up the wrong topics on the 'net.

      Not that I'm pro-Google, but the comparison is a bit too easy...

      1. N2

        Re: Ha ha ha @ Petur

        "Well, there is a small difference between Google serving you ads based on your data"

        No problem if thats what people sign up to. In my opinion Google appears to act as if its beyond the law & on many occasions has shown absolutely no respect for individuals, not to mention their photo cars slurping wireless data. Unfortunately, the subject of law is not a fast moving one & the difference between unethical & illegal an increasingly grey area.

      2. tom dial Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Ha ha ha

        While I am not a fan of some of NSA's undertakings, I also am not aware of any instance of police turning up at someone's door because their web browsing activity was referred by the NSA. The story to that effect that turned up early in the current series of revelations turned out to have been referred by a former employer. Indeed, there was a noticeable amount of blathering after the Boston Marathon bombing to the general effect that the Tsarnaevs' activities ought to have been caught by network surveillance but were not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hypocrisy? No, business as usual

      The shocking thing is that people are surprised; hypocrisy is so common in modern life I would have guaranteed that the world would be used to it by now.

      Why is that? Because people have short memories: today's hypocrisy is tomorrow's business as usual.

      1. oolor

        Re: Hypocrisy? No, business as usual

        >Why is that? Because people have short memories: today's hypocrisy is tomorrow's business as usual.

        The wonders of the diffusion of responsibility. Then again most people are interested in appearing to do the socially right thing rather than actually doing the right thing.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Killraven

      Re: Ha ha ha

      On the surface this does indeed look very hypocritical, but the big difference between Google and the NSA in this situation is that only one of them is supposedly bound by the Constitution.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google glass privacy line is bullshit, and needs to be dropped, why? Here is an example

    another example

    We could go on all day.

    So people should just give up on it, as you look like morons. If someone wants to film your puny todger in the loo or perv at kids in a park for later viewing pleasure they already can. So get real, if you really think it's an issue there are several tens of thousands of different spying devices you should probably start with first, and lest face it you're boring nobody cares about you. I'm certainly boring and nobody cares about me, my todger, the last time I went to a porn shop, or that I skip work every now and again.

    On the "hypocrisy" of it. Google are an ad company, they're not likely to mistakenly identify you as a terrorist, kick down your door and ship you to a black pit somewhere. The US government may.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm certainly boring and nobody cares about me"

      You got that right...

      The point of the outrage isn't the little, innocent things about *you*, its about the privacy of the activists doing things that the government, or one of its allies, doesn't like.

      It doesn't matter if Google identify you as a terrorist, but whoever they hand the data over to might. The fact that they collect and store the data means that the government can give them a court order and take it.

    2. dogged

      > Google are an ad company, they're not likely to mistakenly identify you as a terrorist, kick down your door and ship you to a black pit somewhere. The US government may.

      "Items which may interest you -

      Ski Masks sale reductions!

      Enriched uranium blowout!

      From Google Maps -

      Inside the Pentagon!"

      Could be fun.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a pratt.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Methinks this is bull plop designed to shore up their stock price from losing business.

    If any company could have fought off the US Gov it is Google, but they didn't. Instead of fighting against a clear and blatant violation of the first and fourth amendments, they bent to secret court orders (also illegal). If they had successfully brought this to peoples attention they would have emerged as heroes. Again, they didn't and Edward Snowden had to sacrifice his country and life to bring this to the world.

    Stand up for your rights, while you still have them mister Schmidt. Or should we call you Janus?

    1. Bob 15

      "Again, they didn't and Edward Snowden had to sacrifice his country and life to bring this to the world"

      Wow, someone has a crush on Edward...

      He sacrificed his country, not his life. He got everything he wanted - fame, fortune (just wait for the book and movie deals), and eventually the girl. I just feel sorry for the company he's working for now, he'll have all of their company secrets in the newspapers in no time

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Wow, someone has a crush on Edward..."

        In other times, I suppose you might be yelling "Crucify! Crucify!" Or ranting "Socrates is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others".

        I really wish I could somehow get hold of a block of 10,000 downvotes. I'll never find a better use for it.

  5. Mitoo Bobsworth

    False outrage?

    "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."

    In other words - "Hands off, that's our job!"

  6. Gannon (J.) Dick

    You built the monster, Dr. Frankenschmidt

    It has an insatiable appetite for junk food.

    Feed it or consider yourself supper.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WIth a lot of these CEO types, I've noticed a complete disconnect between their own actions and those of other people. "It must be OK because it's me doing it"; but the second someone else steps up and does the same it's all squawking and feathers everywhere. I wonder if it's some kind of syndrome....

    EDIT: If someone would like to pay me a cubic fucktonne of money; I'd be happy to do the research.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Thanks for the tip Moiety

      Actually I asked Google, and they said you already did the research.

      So I asked where I send the cubic fucktonne and they couldn't say where you lived ... that would be wrong.

      Long story short, you can pick it up at their place. They will withhold taxes, naturally, but they assure me there will be a substantial portion of the fucktonne, perhaps as much as a suntan left for you to spend as you please.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mutatis mutandis...

      "WIth a lot of these CEO types, I've noticed a complete disconnect between their own actions and those of other people..."

      Nicely said, moiety. It strikes me forcefully that a small edit turns your remark into a valuable observation about geopolitics:

      "WIth a lot of these national governments, I've noticed a complete disconnect between their own actions and those of other national governments..."

      Have you invented the Broadly Generalisable Metaobservation? Think how much time it could save scientists, philosophers, and random intellectuals!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Eric Schmidt is worried about government competition

    Now that GCHQ and the NSA have access to Google's data and infrastructure for free, the opportunities are limitless:

    Oglemail--monitors what you are typing, helpfully feeding you ads for local defense attorneys if you start writing about jihad or setting off a bomb.

    Oglesearch-- serves you ads for Soma and other sedatives if you start "Ogling" search terms like "government surveillance" or "civil liberties"

    Oglemaps--Doesn't tell you anything about where you are or how to get where you are going, but feeds your location real-time to the Five Eyes population control center, where they can track your movements relative to local police stations, SWAT teams and black site detainment centers, just in case you ever need to be picked up by government "roadside assistance" for your own protection.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    That isn't the question that needs to be asked. What needs asked is "do you have a right to privacy even when you are doing nothing wrong"

    1. dogged

      By who's definition of "wrong"?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You are joking?

    This from the company that keeps asking for your mobile number whenever you log onto its mail service?

    Give me a break.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know"

    Then why does Google require NDAs from people like the ones in the sub article doing Street-View?

  12. Chris G


    You've been slurping my warehouses? I'm outraged, I keep my personal remakes of Animal Farm on those servers!

  13. Oninoshiko
    Big Brother


    This from Eric "If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place." Schmidt?

  14. asdf


    Information asymmetry significance is always played down by a party until they are the wrong side of the equation.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you...

    The dude doth protest too much?

    Is Mr. Schmidt perhaps worried that this could impact the shining reputation *cough* of their Googly cloud services, eventually leading to a loss of customers/revenue?

  16. MrDamage Silver badge

    How dare you

    Violate our users privacy!

    That's OUR job!

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I'm assuming...

    I'm assuming there may have been a little sarcasm there? I mean, the NSA has been doing whatever they want. I'd assume Google analyzes their own logs well enough they (and so Schmidt) would have known if the NSA was actively trolling through their systems. But, I would have been more surprised to find out the NSA *wasn't* tapped into Google's lines to the wider internet, given their zeal for taps.

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Buck stops with Eric. Who wants to Carry the Can Next and Can Lead Fans AIMerry Dance, Yo?

    The Schmidt problem for Google Inc. is in the abject corporate failure to globally lead with searched services and products which do no evil and, much more importantly in these considerably smarter connected times and spaces, do great good, for surely the problem is one which must be attributed to a leading individual, [although obviously malfunctioning or dysfunctional when failing to lead with great good] rather than be dodged and spun as a collective failure from which lessons will be learned. That be the tired old politically incorrect excuse which incompetents in parasitic governments use and abuse wilfully blindly/stupidly.

  19. billyjoebob

    Please find someone over the age of 12 to write your headlines.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "Please find someone over the age of 12 to write your headlines."

      First, bartenders, now readers wanna check my ID. Sheesh.


  20. Potemkine Silver badge


    Google collaborates with the NSA for years and now Schmidt plays the outraged guy... He may be a good businessman, but for being a good actor he has still much progress to make, beginning with credibility.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "creepy" Eric

    Still creepy.

    Good to know in a fast changing world somethings you can always rely on.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe "you" was the important word then

    "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it".

    Wasn't it a buddy of Schmidt's who uttered those words back in 1999? Well, if it was zero then, it surely must be about -75% now, the way things are going.

  23. Syntax Error

    Shift your Servers

    Well Mr Schmidt what you going to do about it?

    Try moving your company out of the USA.

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Shift your Servers

      Just so long as it's not out of the USA and into the UK. Try Germany or somewhere nordic, somewhere that actually gives a <redacted>.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lashed out...

    having been shaken beyond belief to hear about this outrageous behaviour. Likewise, I'm moved to tears.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    damage limitation excercise

    After all, they, like other big companies to share data with big NSA brother, are the (temporary) losers in this "Snowdan affair". It's the trust of their users who trust less than before (but this is minor issue, who gives a flying about what users think anyway). More importantly, it's the trust of the people with big buck, who buy and sell google stock and think: "users trust google less... fuck that, but what if they decide enough's enough and turn their back on google? I'm gonna lose my shitload of money if this happens, I'd better diversify my portfolio".

  26. JCitizen

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot...

    now all the sudden Schmidt wants privacy. I think it is funny! Maybe now Google will take our privacy seriously!

  27. cracked

    It's not our fault!

    God damn doing no evil, balloon inflating, coloured-ball loving, 1950s style cafeteria frequenting, complimentary pony riding MOFOs


    ... Google doubts this is much to do with servers in the US and more to do with cables carrying data via/within Europe (and probably in Blighty) - But what's an IT Mega corporation to do about that? How's that our fault? We're outraged!

    ... Google is a friendly company; which believes no one - anywhere - does any evil. Ever.

    ... So when we offered you and your data a bit of protection with that "Golden Key" symbol in your browser; well obviously we weren't going to keep that protection once the data arrived with us. Come on! Who is ever going to want to intercept it after you've transmitted it? And hacking the world's leading Advertising Network Content Aggregator Pony Riding Club - For shame. Don't you worry, users, we've got your back.

    ... Happily, Google knows that the IT Press won't be critising us ... Like us, the IT press is a friendly place (and they won't want to be losing their place in our Search Rankings, by being unfriendly ... will they?)

    ... Oh, hello El-Reg! ;-) *waves*

  28. Andy Davies
    Big Brother

    Curiously my emailled link to this article was redirected to a Cisco 'Dangerous Page' warning.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

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