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The Schmidt hits the Man: NSA spying on Google servers? 'OUTRAGEOUS!'

Collecting info on everyone ... isn't that the advertising giant's job?

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Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has branded the NSA's alleged surveillance of web giants' data centers "outrageous".

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt lashed out at American spooks after documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested Google and Yahoo! data center links were being snooped on.

"It's really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true," the search engine supremo was quoted as saying.

"The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people's privacy, it's not OK."

The remarks from the exec chairman come in the wake of revelations of a top-secret project known as MUSCULAR, which is believed to have harvested private and personal data by tapping into the fiber lines linking up server warehouses operated by Google, Yahoo! and others.

It's alleged more than 180 million records have been slurped in the MUSCULAR dragnet, run by Uncle Sam's NSA and the UK's GCHQ.

The outrage from Schmidt contrasts Google's sometimes arguably cavalier attitude to user privacy: the firm has been accused at various times of snooping on citizens' activities, including a scandal over the collection of Wi-Fi data by its Street View cars, which dogged Google for years. More recently, politicians have called on Google executives to discuss privacy concerns over the company's headset computers, Google Glass.

Schmidt himself said in 2009 of user privacy concerns: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

More recently, however, Google has been among the most vocal critics of government surveillance programs, speaking out against the internet dragnet-like PRISM platform and calling for greater transparency in how firms can report their interactions with spies, and demanding the ability to warn users when their information has been sought out. ®

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