“I’m just very worried that with Internet privacy… we’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater. We’re not thinking about the tremendous good that can come from people sharing the right information with the right people in the right ways.”
— Larry Page, Google CEO, in a conversation Wednesday with Charlie Rose at the TED conference in Vancouver. As an example, Page talked about how he initially kept a secret an ailment that affected his voice. After Google co-founder Sergey Brin urged him to go public about it, Page said others began sharing their stories about similar problems. And as Brandon Bailey wrote, Page has encouraged more people to do the same.
So yes, Page and Google are in the information business. But he acknowledged that people have very real concerns about privacy, especially after the revelations of massive NSA spying — which included details about how the government scooped up information from users of services offered by Internet giants such as Google.
“It is disappointing that the government secretly did this stuff and didn’t tell us about it,” Page said. (By the way, the top counsel of the National Security Agency said at a hearing Wednesday that tech companies did know about it, although he seemed to be talking only about certain information collected by the government.)
Page’s comments echo those of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently wrote that he called President Obama personally to complain about continuing reports that basically make it look like the government can access online users’ information without the companies knowing about it.
Photo of Larry Page from Associated Press archives