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David Drummond

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SOPA, the sequel.

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Dear Google users—

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 Google’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. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” 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 don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false. 

Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—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 citizens’ safety—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

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Check out the Hangout later today with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon!

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Panel at the World Economic Forum on anti-piracy legislation. Good conversation with Congressman Darrell Issa, Jimmy Wales, Trip Adler and Peter Cashmore.

An interesting two days of debate in Congress on SOPA. If you're interested in the future of the web and want to get involved, check out:


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A good summary of troubling developments re free expression online:

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We're continuing the conversation about free expression today at Google's Big Tent event in the Hague. Featured an inspired speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on companies to do more to promote Internet freedom around the world.

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Google continues its Big Tent series in Germany:

Look for more Big Tent events in the future!

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There are almost 22 million military veterans in the United States today and millions more around the world. Google has created some new tools to help these vets - and their families - find new ways of connecting online. In honor of Veteran's Day, we've just announced a new YouTube channel, Vet Connect page, and a resume builder powered by Google Docs.

My father was a Tuskegee Airman and a veteran of WWII and Vietnam, so it's important to me that Google supports veterans; I'm proud of the work we're doing on this front.

Check out:
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