Governments around the world should have clear rules and guidelines on what data they can and cannot collect in secret, Google's legal head has said.
David Drummond told the Guardian categorically: "We're not in cahoots with the NSA and there is no government programme that Google participates in that allows the kind of access that the media originally reported."
It was the Guardian that first reported on a leaked Powerpoint deck that indicated that the world's biggest tech companies had been feeding user data to the US government, with Google, Facebook and Apple all implicated. Later, it emerged that the UK government likely also had access.
Google now says that global government should take action: "It's high time that governments get together and decide some rules around [secret data gathering].
"It's really important that all of us give close scrutiny to any laws that give governments increased power to sift through user data."
He concedes that there are times when government requests for data are justified - "a criminal attach, for example, or a suspected terrorist attack" - but says that there it should be clear exactly how major these requests are.
And, of course, the old mantra came out: "We didn't know [Prism] existed."
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