David Drummond, Google's top legal chief

David Drummond, Google’s top legal chief

A lot of false facts were spread around when the original news regarding the NSA’s relationship with technology companies broke. Since then, Google, Apple, and other others have been on a mission to repair their public image. In an interview with the Guardian, Google’s top legal chief reaffirmed the fact that the company is not “in cahoots” with the NSA, nor does it give the government direct access to its servers.

“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,” David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said. “There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box,” Drummond reaffirmed.

“We didn’t know [Prism] existed,” he said, suggesting that Google was just as surprised by the leaked reports as citizens were.

We’re not in the business of lying and we’re absolutely telling the truth about all of this. Our business depends on the trust of our users. And I’m an executive officer of a large publicly traded company, so lying to the public wouldn’t be the greatest career move.

If by what has now been “revealed” you mean the allegation that Google is allowing the NSA unfettered access to user data or that we’re handing over data willy-nilly to the government, again, that’s just not true. It’s not rhetoric, it’s just a fact.

Finally, Drummond reiterated that Google does everything it can to protect its users’ data and only responds to “legitimate” requests from the government. “We do push back where we can, and do everything we can to protect our users’ data. But we don’t write the laws. Maybe one positive outcome of all this will be to have a deeper debate on this and come up with laws that are more transparent to the public,” he said.