Google CEO Calls NSA Spying ‘Disappointing’

Google Inc. (GOOG) Chief Executive Officer Larry Page criticized the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, calling for limits on what the U.S. government can do.

“It’s tremendously disappointing that our government did this and didn’t tell us,” Page said during a presentation at a TED technology and design conference in Vancouver. “We need to know what the parameters of this are.”

Page has said little publicly about the NSA’s data collection since co-authoring a blog post in June following last year’s release of documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that disclosed how global spy agencies gather vast amounts of data about phone calls and online activities. The revelations, which showed that authorities had been gathering data from companies such as Google, Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., frayed U.S. relationships with countries such as Brazil and Germany and set off a global debate about the violation of privacy to bolster security.

The proliferation of digital and wireless devices has boosted the amount of information that can be gathered on individuals, Page said.

“We need to have a debate about that, or we can’t have a democracy,” Page said. “The world is changing, you carry a phone, it knows where you are. There’s so much more information about you. The main thing we need to do is provide people choice -- show them what kind of information is getting collected.”

The comment comes less than a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he called U.S. President Barack Obama to express his frustration over the government’s spying.

“The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

To contact the reporters on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Reed Stevenson

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