Quoted: Larry Page talks privacy, NSA spying

“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


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  • Jim Sea

    Of course internet companies that make money off of selling information and advertising want to control the privacy. If you ask most users, they would want to keep most if not all their information private and not be shared. Put the privacy in the hands of the users, then users like me wouldn’t have to create different accounts, some of which we only use at the public library. It would also result in less resources for these companies to maintain the accounts.

  • cee

    Didn’t someone at google say “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”.

    What a load of hypocrites, what is the problem with the goverment combing Google’s data? If you or Google are doing something wrong, then they/you should stop doing it rather than whinge about it.

    Or is it just the idiot customer who deserves zero privacy, Larry, Serg & Eric should have it, just not you (how else are they going to make money from data you give away so freely).

    How did Google react when CNET dared to profile the heads of Google using publicly available information, see this link: http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/05/technology/google_cnet/

    And Google do profile your data, even when your in private browsing mode, they will do anything including break legally binding agreements to get information about you.

    Close every google account you hold, or one day suddenly you will find getting insurance, a job, a home etc will come down to you web history. Never use your real name on any social media site, if you apply for a job with me, or rent a property from me, the first thing I do is search for you and judge you on your web presence.

    You have been warned, it’s upto you to heed the warning.