Google, Facebook’s spying on users bigger intrusion than NSA’s

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Unlike Facebook and Google who collect enormous amount of users’ data, the NSA is not actively snooping on Americans’ internet and e-mail accounts and is acting within a carefully regulated program, Fred Fleitz, former CIA analyst, told RT.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt attacked the NSA surveillance of American citizens during a meeting of Silicon Valley executives Wednesday. He claimed that spying can break the internet. His concern, AFP reported, was echoed by Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox and others involved in the discussion led by US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden.

RT: Do you agree with the Google boss that the NSA really could break the internet?

Fred Fleitz: I really don’t. I find it amusing to hear Google saying things like this. When the real risk to global privacy is from companies like Google or Microsoft and Amazon that are collecting thousands of pieces of information but unlike NSA there are no regulations barring them from doing this.

RT: Why would this meeting be held? Are these internet giants really concerned about privacy or do they have their own agendas?

FF: They have their own agenda and there are two reasons they are concerned. First of all, the reports of NSA surveillance are causing many countries to demand that the servers of companies like Google be kept in that certain country. And they are saying: “This is so the NSA can’t go through this information.” The real reason is that there are a number of countries like China that want to spy on their own people. The second reason is that Google has been hurt by publicity that it shared information with the NSA in many cases inadvertently. And it is just trying to improve its image.

RT: Facebook, which has been taking part in the meeting, launched a new ad network which can target users’ offline shopping lists, and then sell that info to companies. That’s not all that different from the NSA’s activities, is it?

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