Google boss says spying on his firm is 'outrageous'
Google's chairman has condemned the US government's alleged spying on his company's servers as "outrageous" and potentially illegal.
Eric Schmidt, one of the most powerful figures in Silicon Valley, issued the scathing criticism amid continuing anger from European leaders over claims US agencies targeted their personal communications.
Edward Snowden, the former spy whose leaks prompted a global debate about mass surveillance, has meanwhile stepped up demands for clemency from the US government, insisting that "to tell the truth is not a crime".
Mr Schmidt offered a stinging assessment of the NSA's dragnet approach to surveillance, telling the 'Wall Street Journal' it was "bad public policy" and "perhaps illegal".
"It's really outrageous that the NSA was looking between the Google data centres, if that's true," Mr Schmidt said.
"The steps that the organisation was willing to do, without good judgment, to pursue its mission and potentially violate people's privacy, it's not okay."
The $340bn search engine company has immense political power in America and Mr Schmidt said Google had made its anger clear to the White House, members of Congress and the NSA itself.
The 'Washington Post' reported that the NSA had tapped into Yahoo and Google's internal communications links to siphon off millions of private exchanges every day.
While Google said it was "outraged" to learn of the allegations it remains unclear to what extent it also co-operates with US spy agencies.
Slides from documents leaked by Mr Snowden indicate that Google and other companies comply with secret court orders to hand over huge amounts of data. They are allegedly reimbursed millions of dollars for the costs of working with the US government.