Google: We don’t spy on you

Google: We don’t spy on you
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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt pushed back Friday against criticism that his company is spying on its users.

“I hear this perception that somehow we’re not playing by the rules of modern society,” he said at a conference at the Cato Institute. “I think it’s wrong."

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“Google has worked very hard to improve your privacy," he added.

With concerns about spying by the National Security Agency (NSA), many people have also become suspicious of companies like Facebook and Google, which rely in part on information about users’ activity in order to target advertising.

“We do need to retain a certain amount of information for our systems to work, but unlike many others we make it very easy for you to delete that, mask it or avoid it entirely," Schmidt said.

Critics of the search engine giant have claimed that its behavior is worse than the NSA’s, because the information about people’s lives is potentially more damning and comprehensive.

Instead, Schmidt maintained that Google’s products are ideal for people who are concerned about the security of their information, due to its data protections.

“I today believe that if you have important information, the safest place to keep it is in Google,” he said, “and I can assure the safest place to not keep it is anywhere else.”

Many of those new encryption defenses have been employed over the course of the last year, since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was tapping into Internet companies’ servers, causing public trust in the websites to nosedive.

In addition to those protections, Schmidt also claimed that his company has explored some technologies, such as facial recognition systems, that it ultimately decided not to roll out because of the concerns about people’s privacy.

“Because we’re so heavily criticized and so heavily scrutinized, if we were to make a mistake and release such a product it would be a real disaster to the company," he said.