Me thinks Larry Page and the Zuckster have same ghostwriter at the NSA.
Dear Google usersâ€”
You may be aware of press reports alleging that Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. As Googleâ€™s CEO and Chief Legal Officer, we wanted you to have the facts.
First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. governmentâ€”or any other governmentâ€”direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a â€œback doorâ€ to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.
Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or donâ€™t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our usersâ€™ data are false, period. Until this weekâ€™s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon receivedâ€”an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of usersâ€™ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our usersâ€™ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.
Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believedâ€”there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizensâ€™ safetyâ€”including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.
Posted by Larry Page, CEO and David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer
I want to respond personally to the outrageous press reports about PRISM:
Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.
When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.
We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term.
You don’t need to go in through the back door when you go in through the front.