Google’s Lawyer During Live Chat: ‘We’re Not In Cahoots With The NSA’

This live chat thing is catching on.

Two days after Edward Snowden, the source of recently leaked top secret National Security Agency documents, answered questions in an open-to-the-public live chat on The Guardian’s website, Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, participated in a similar forum.Drummond, who also holds the title of senior vice president of corporate development at Google, answered questions from Guardian readers for almost an hour on Wednesday. In his answers (Google was picking the questions), Drummond emphasized that Google is not allowing the government “direct access” to its servers and laid out ways that Google is now calling for greater transparency from the government.

“I’m not sure I can say this more clearly: we’re not in cahoots with the NSA and there’s is no government program that Google participates in that allows the kind of access that the media originally reported,” Drummond wrote, in response to the first question. “Note that I say ‘originally’ because you’ll see that many of those original sources corrected their articles after it became clear that the PRISM slides were not accurate. Now, what does happen is that we get specific requests from the government for user data. We review each of those requests and push back when the request is overly broad or doesn’t follow the correct process. There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box.”

Asked point blank if Google “is lying to us,” Drummond replied that, “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,” Drummond continued. “And I’m an executive officer of a large publicly traded company, so lying to the public wouldn’t be the greatest career move.”

Read the whole thing here.