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Google CEO's Reaction to PRISM Surveillance Allegations: 'What the ...?'


Larry Page denied the claims that Google participated in a PRISM program, which allegedly provided the US government with access to its customers' private data

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page reacted to the allegations that the Internet giant provided the US government access to its customers' private data through a secret cooperation program codenamed PRISM. The post that just appeared on the official Google Blog is titled "What the ...?"

The post, co-authored by Page and Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, states that the company has "not joined any program that would give the US government - or any other government - direct access to our servers." It also said that "the US government does not have direct access or a 'back door' to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday."

"Until this week's reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) 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," Page and Drummond said.

"Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users' Internet activity on such a scale is completely false," they continued.

Authors reiterated that Google provides the information to governments only in accordance with the law and tries to be as transparent as possible.

You can read the whole thing here.

Yesterday's report from The Washington Post implied that the secret government program codenamed PRISM provided The National Security Agency and the FBI with the means to directly tap into the servers of the top nine American Internet businesses, including Google, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The companies denied providing "direct access."

Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch and CrunchFund, summarized the situation in his blog post and focused on the similarities of phrasing in the companies' statements.

Investors will be watching carefully to see how the story unfolds.
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