Does the NSA or Google Spy More on You? [Burning Questions Ep. 4]
Today’s Burning Question for online privacy expert John Sileo:
“Who is the bigger spy, the NSA or Google?”
I thought that was a really fascinating question. Of course, it comes because in the last couple of months the NSA has been outed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee. The NSA (National Security Agency) has been spying on our phone calls- who we’re calling and when, our emails- who we’re emailing and what about, and even our social media posts.
The latest scandal is called “Muscular”. Somehow, the NSA has gotten between the transmissions of Google and Yahoo. In other words, the NSA has been “sniffing” the emails going back and forth between the two largest email providers in the US and this has angered the tech giants like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.
Recently there was an article in the New York Times about the tech companies wanting to defend their privacy. In particular, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, has gone on the record to the Wall Street Journal talking about how we need to do a better job defending our privacy. (Watch the video embedded in our BQ video.)
Let’s take a look at a few of Schmidt’s comments. First, he said, “You have to take a strong position in favor of privacy. Do you really want the government tracking all of your information?” I find it very ironic that this man whose company tracks all of our information is asking this question! You could substitute Google’s company name for government: “Do you really want Google tracking all of your information?” Here he is calling for privacy on one hand and violating it on the other.
The second statement that is fascinating is, “Let’s start with appropriate oversight and transparency. You don’t have to violate the privacy of every single citizen in America in order to find them.” You might also say you don’t have to violate the privacy of every single citizen or track the privacy of every single user of Google in order to market to them. It takes a lot of gumption for somebody who is so focused on collecting our private data to say that the NSA is collecting too much information!
So, the question again is, “Who is the bigger spy, the NSA or Google?” Well, of course, the NSA is much larger and is collecting more information, but mostly thanks to companies like Google.
John Sileo is a keynote speaker and online privacy expert, as well as the CEO of The Sileo Group, which helps organizations to protect the privacy that drives their profitability. Recent engagements include presentations at The Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security and Northrop Grumman as well as media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.