Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Google slams US spying as threat to democracy

20 March 2014, 11:48

Vancouver - Google co-founder Larry Page on Wednesday condemned US government snooping on the internet as a threat to democracy.

His comments came during an on-stage chat at a prestigious TED gathering, where a day earlier fellow Google founder Sergey Brin had a virtual encounter with National Security Agency whistle blower Edward Snowden.

A photo of Brin smiling with a robot remotely controlled by Snowden from a refuge in Russia, where the wanted man is in hiding, was tweeted by TED curator Chris Anderson and became an instant online hit.

"It is tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all this stuff and didn't tell us," Page said during the chat with interviewer Charlie Rose.

He reasoned that details of suspected terrorist threats, understandably, should remain cloaked but that the parameters of what US intelligence agents do, along with how and why they do it, should be public.


"We need to have a debate about that or we can't have a functioning democracy; it is just not possible," Page said.

"It is sad that Google is in the position of protecting you and our users from the government doing secret things nobody knows about; it doesn't make any sense."

As smartphones and sensors synched to the internet traffic in increasing amounts of data about where people are and what they are doing, it is imperative to make folks aware and provide choices regarding how it is used, Page argued.

He was concerned, though, that backlash to online spying and fears over privacy would result in blocking uses of personal information for beneficial purposes.

"What I am worried about is we throw out the baby with the bath water," Page said.

He gave the example of how shared medical information, on an aggregate scale and made anonymous, could help researchers develop treatments and patients select doctors or map medical care.

"We are not really thinking about the tremendous good that can come from people sharing the right information with the right people in the right ways," Page said.

Page gave the example of going public with details of trouble with his voice.

"On your show I kind of lost my voice and I haven't gotten it back," Page joked with Rose.

"I am hoping that by talking to you I am going to get it back. Get out your Voodoo doll and do whatever you need to do."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I need a miracle to win in 2017, ...

An MP says that he needs a miracle to win the 2017 elections but has not given up on victory despite the odds being against him. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Raila ungrateful for my help, MP ...

An MP says that he made ODM famous in Meru and has accused the party of ungratefulness despite his hard work. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I'm ready for by-election today, ...

I'm ready for a by election, an angry ODM rebel MP tells Raila Odinga. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
ODM kicks 6 MPs out of Parliament...

ODM has kicked 6 rebel members out of house committees. Read more...