Eric Schmidt Claims Google Considered Moving Its Servers Out Of The US To Avoid The NSA

from the that-would-be-big dept

We've been hearing more and more reports that many folks within Google are incredibly angry over the NSA's activities, some of which has bubbled up already. There have been some questions, though, about whether those attitudes go all the way up the management chain, so it's interesting to see Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, now claiming that the company actually considered taking all its servers out of the US in the wake of the NSA revelations.
Google, the giant of the Internet, thought about moving its servers out of the U.S. after the NSA debacle, said Eric Schmidt, the company's chairman, on Friday at the Paley International Council Summit in New York.

"Actually, we thought about that and there are many, many reasons why it's impossible for Google to leave the United States, although it's attractive," Schmidt said.

"But the reason it's an interesting idea is because American firms are subject to these rules, the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] rules, Patriot Act and so forth, and this government surveillance is really a problem."
Of course, what Google probably realized is that, once out of the US, the NSA actually has more powers to spy on anything with basically no oversight. At least in the US, there are some (if minimal) restrictions, and there are at least some ways to fight back. Still, it would be quite a statement for a company like Google to make that kind of a move, and again would highlight just how much of a bad business impact all this NSA spying can have on American companies.

The real question is how much will Google continue to do in response to these revelations. Many, many people don't trust the company, and taking a strong stand to protect its users privacy and to push back against government surveillance is going to be necessary, or the company runs a real risk of driving many people to other services that promise to be more secure.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    perhaps maybe they need a better goto person inside Google to talk about anything to do with privacy.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Ha ha, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    Liar liar pants on fire

    Eric Schmidt is the biggest whore for the NSA that ever existed. He's the one who told us if we don't have anything to hide then why worry about surveillance. He can pretend that he opposes the NSA but the truth is Google works for the NSA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Ha ha, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Liar liar

    Schmidt is the biggest whÝre for the NSA that ever existed. He is a cheerleader for the NSA's ideas, not their opponent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    What's the problem

    I'm sure the NSA would let Mr. Schmidt know that he has no expectation of privacy...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    And if they moved them outside the US what's to stop the NSA from having /more/ of a reason to infiltrate everything since they would be foreign servers?

    The problem isn't the server location, it's the people wanting the information....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Google is evil

    *Insert Generic Insane Rabling Against Google*
    *Insert Ad Hominem attacks Techdirt and Mike*

    *Insert Typical OOTB Closing*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Anonymouse

    Lazy troll is lazy. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Re: Google is evil

    Doorís to your left; mind your tinfoil hat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    It's the people wanting the information...

    - What do you want?
    - Information.
    - Whose side are you on?
    - That would be telling. We want information... information... information!
    - You won't get it!
    - By hook or by crook... we will.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Zos (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    if i had any servers inside us control i'd have moved them back when the mega raids when down personally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Its not just the servers they would have to move, severing all formal ties with the USA, could be difficult. What could threaten Google is a Non USA company, with non USA people involved, coming into the search market from a country that respects privacy. The question is: does such a country exist?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    NovaScotian, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    Ability

    NSA has certainly demonstrated that they can collect Internet information but it's not at all clear to me that they are capable of doing anything with it. The Boston Marathon demonstrated that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: Ability

    Unless that was a frame job....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re: Ability

    They've spent billions of dollars on two wars, DHS, TSA, and everything inbetween, yet what have they accomplished? Why does the solution to every problem, every breach of security, involve strengthening government and treating the general public like a bunch of would-be criminals? The government was informed years in advance by Russian intel about the Boston bombers yet sat on their hands doing nothing. That has to tell you something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Talk is cheap. I have no reason to trust Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Anonymouse

    I was doing spot on impression of out_of_the_blue. He's so predictable that it becomes sad really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Google is evil

    I did a good impression of him,right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    tl;dr version:

    "MUHAHAHA! We can keep your data safe from the NSA, but we don't want to because it would slightly hurt our profits!"




    Douche.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Nerft, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    A more evident "reason" to stay within the states is to maintain it's $30,000,000 contract they have with the u.s. government.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Mike Shore, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Irony

    Hey Eric, didn't you get the memo? Privacy is dead, get over it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Applesauce, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: Liar liar pants on fire

    Eric Schmidt is a full-bore authoritarian and one of the Bilderberg buddies of the heads of the NSA. This is just window dressing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    You're saying you did at one point? (^_~)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    Depends on the degree and how they want to assure it.

    EU is not too bad for avoiding NSAs direct surveillance. When that is said, the intelligence agencies are worse on some areas than NSA in several EU countries.

    Southern America would be OK even though NSA has quite some surveillance there.

    South East Asian countries may be willing to accomodate them, but the internet-connections to the rest of the world is generally lacking there.

    India and South Korea has some positives and some negatives.

    Ultimately it is impossible to avoid surveillance and if they find a way, there will be laws incoming to stop that way.

    What Schmidt is saying is completely meaningless. Even though he may be right about them discussing it, Google cannot do anything to stop the problem and therefore his words cannot be but empty drivel to satisfy people who do not look deep enough to see his bluff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Mr. Oizo, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 10:36am

    Google = NSA Front

    Come on, you keep on propping up Google with all their good intentions while it should be apparent to anybody now. Google = a front for the NSA. The more the say 'it ain't so' the less I believe them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    There's a few companies I no longer trust due to the NSA. Some I can do something about, some I can't.

    I block Google at every point I can on my machine. Have for a long time. I don't like ads, whether with nice pictures or served up in the results. If I were looking for ads, Google might be great. I use none of it's services. When places atttempt to force you into having some sort of account like Google plus (whatever that is) I drop those services as well.

    What I don't do, is play troll on places about Google. Were this not part of the topic of the article, I wouldn't be saying diddly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Google's products rely on surveillance

    There's a lot Google can and should do to resist government surveillance, but Google's products themselves rely on centralized surveillance for their features. You don't get Google personalization or contextual ads or a useful Google Now without signing up for some pretty comprehensive surveillance of your online activities (and the more surveillance you sign up for, the better Google services are at what they do).

    Now, there's a big difference between signing up or opting in to Google surveillance as a Google user versus having the government step in and scoop up all that data behind the scenes (Google users are giving their data to Google, but their not intentionally giving it to the NSA), and that's where there's a lot that Google can and should do... but the whole Google experience is based on user surveillance. It's no wonder that kind of centralized, surveillance-based infrastructure is going to become a target for overreaching governments.

    The real safeguards and solutions that interest me aren't more secure surveillance-based systems, but decentralized, user-controlled services that don't have that giant, central data store that needs safeguarding in the first place.

     

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  27.  
    icon
    znmeb (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Give me a break, Schmidt

    This is yet another example of Schmidt's acting to maximize his personal wealth, power and prestige to the detriment of both Google and Google's users and customers. Larry Page is the CEO of Google, *not* Eric Schmidt!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Obverse, inverse

    Google is the inverse of the same coin of which the government is the obverse.

    Schmidt's statement is just a flipping of the coin. I'll take my chances elsewhere, where the odds are better than 50/50.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Votre (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    To every evasion
    spin spin spin
    That's the equation
    spin spin spin
    It's a lie for every purpose
    Under heaven...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymoose, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Liar liar pants on fire

    I directly recall seeing google want ads on Craigslist in early 2002 for engineers with TS/SCI security clearances.

    That was the last time I used them for anything. Pretty clear this was all going to happen, even then.

    Google has a marketing problem. They're blind to the behavioral problem that created it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    two things Google have got so wrong and only themselves to blame for are that it doesn't stick up for customers and it doesn't fight for customers, in any way, against the entertainment industries. although there may well be millions of customers that use Google, to continuously turn their back on them is very bad business. the entertainment industries have colluded to have Google and others do certain jobs for them at their own expense and at the risk of losing those same customers. the entertainment industries have already lost those customers so dont care which other companies lose them as well. Google would have done well to try to hang on to them, as they are the ones that supply the cash!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Nope.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Anonymouse

    Yes...

    I thought his auto-insert macro was broken and it just showed the placeholders rather then his typical rants....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Paraquat (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Google should move

    The best thing that Google could do is move outside the USA. Doing so would not absolutely prevent the NSA from spying on their customers, but it would make it a lot easier for them to avoid secret subpoenas that they can't talk about thanks to the Patriot Act. If Google chooses a country that does not have software patents, it would relieve them of that worry. Plus it would also be a public relations coup if they moved and stated the reason(s).

    Maybe such a move would even have a sobering effect on the US government when it finally sinks in that America's obnoxious behavior is driving away big business. Nothing speaks louder in the halls of Congress than money.

    If Google does move, they'll have to choose their new location carefully. They should scratch from their list any country that signs up for the TPP (assuming that obnoxious "trade agreement" actually passes). Actually, if Google is considering one of those countries that is negotiating TPP, they might do us all a favor by letting them know in advance that joining the TPP will eliminate their chance of getting the Google server farm.

    Well, I'm dreaming. But it's a nice dream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:35pm

    Maybe the tech industry as a whole should buy an island or some small country

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Ha ha, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Google = NSA Front

    Indeed! Every time I feel dazzled by a new Android phone, I remember that it's a kind of ankle bracelet and spying device.

    But then of course... all phones are, since the radio chips have their own CPU and OS that is easily hacked.

    But Android spies on both CPUs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Jam, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 10:24pm

    Re:

    I don't know why somebody hasn't produced a better search engine than Google yet.

    Yes, you need a bunch of servers, but it is a moral imperative to replace Google...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Eric Splat, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Liar liar pants on fire

    Not only that, one of their execs gave a speech at the Commonwealth Club a couple years ago wherein he bragged that Google has military personnel working for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Ability

    Because: New World Order.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    David, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:26pm

    I don't want Google to "push back against government surveillance." I want Google to "resist government surveillance."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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