Criticism against the search giant for allegedly spying on its users isn’t going unheard, as Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly shot back in defense of his company at a conference at the Cato Institute today:
“I hear this perception that somehow we’re not playing by the rules of modern society, I think it’s wrong. Google has worked very hard to improve your privacy.”
Ever since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA), users have begun to grow suspicious of large companies — not just Google, but Facebook and anyone else who has access to a large amount of user information.
Google reportedly reacted to those revelations by encrypting its systems in an effort to protect users from warrantless surveillance. The company is so confident about its 2048-bit data encryption that it says users are likely to die before anyone can crack the encryption protection their information.
Google needs a certain amount of information from you to make its systems work, says Schmidt who also claims the company makes it very easy for users to delete their information “unlike many others.”
Schmidt goes on to say the safest place to keep important information is in Google, and assures that “the safest place to not keep it is anywhere else.”
However, Google’s strongest critics aren’t so convinced, even going as far as to say the search giant is worse than the NSA because it has access to more damning and comprehensive information.
Schmidt reveals that Google’s concern for the privacy of its users has prevented the company from rolling out technologies they have worked on, such as facial recognition systems. Making a mistake with the release of such technology would be a “real disaster” to the company, says the executive chairman.
Google has advised concerned users to browse in incognito mode if they’re worried about their privacy being compromised by federal or state authorities, but Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union doesn’t buy that:
“Incognito mode will do nothing to protect you from surveillance by the authorities… going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your Internet service provider, or the websites you visit.”
With that being said, you’re either left to trust Schmidt on the security of Google’s data encryption, or continue to be careful with the amount of information you hand over to the company.