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Google's Eric Schmidt Says Reports Of NSA Spying Are 'Outrageous'

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong on Monday.
Philippe Lopez
AFP/Getty Images
Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt speaks at the Chinese University in Hong Kong on Monday.

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says reports that the NSA circumvented the Internet giant's efforts to protect its users' data are "outrageous."

Schmidt made the comments in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

"It's really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true. 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," Schmidt told the paper. "The Snowden revelations have assisted us in understanding that it's perfectly possible that there are more revelations to come."

Schmidt was reacting to a report published last week by The Washington Post. Based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the story said the National Security Agency intercepted electronic traffic sent by Yahoo and Google to their respective data centers around the globe.

By doing that, the agency collected data before it was encrypted and sent across the public Internet.

The Journal adds:

"Mr. Schmidt said in the interview that the right balance of security and privacy starts with finding the appropriate level of oversight.

"'There clearly are cases where evil people exist, but you don't have to violate the privacy of every single citizen of America to find them,' he said."

Separately, Google and other major Internet companies have consistently denied that they willingly give the U.S. access to its servers. But in several documents leaked by Snowden, there are references to big Internet and telecom companies who have entered into deals with the NSA to allow direct access.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.