Google CEO Eric Schmidt wants the government to use the "front door" when trying to obtain data that could lead to potential terrorists or other criminals.
Schmidt, a self-proclaimed "Democratic supporter," addressed various questions before an audience in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, one of which pertained to how the government can legally acquire information inside Google's databases that could offer valuable national security or law enforcement information.
Schmidt said Google gets thousands of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders every year, a number he said is "manageable." And because Google is able to handle the number of orders it receives, Schmidt offered a candid response.
"So my answer to the government and the U.S. government is, 'It's called a front door,'" Schmidt said. "Go to court – by the way, you can get these things in an hour. We have to follow the law. The law requires us to react immediately. We do so. We've never had a problem. I just don't agree," he added.
"I would much prefer them to say, what we would like to be able to do is to watch what everyone's doing in order to figure out who the bad guys are because that's what they want but that's also not something that I want," Schmidt added.
Google, unlike many companies, encrypts users' information in its databases so that not even the government can access it through a so-called "back door." Apple has similar measures in place where users' data are so secure inside its servers that not even the government can access computer files belonging to someone it suspects is involved in a crime or terrorist act.
While popular with many customers, it hasn't gone over well with numerous government and law enforcement officials, such as outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, who suggested that users' privacy can be upheld while at the same time giving officials the information they need to keep the public safe.
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