Larry Page distances Google from PRISM

CEO says Google is not part of government surveillance plans

Larry Page took to Google's official blog at the weekend to strenuously reject the notion that the search engine was helping with the US government's PRISM surveillance program.

Americans have been left stunned after leaked documents appeared to show the government has the capability to access the internet records of any individual. Former CIA technical worker Ed Snowden has taken responsibility for the leak. The 29-year-old, who is thought to be hiding in Hong Kong, told the Guardian: "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded."

There have been suggestions that leading online companies have been assisting the government in gathering this data, but Page is adamant that Google has played no part in the scheme.

He rejects rumours that Google has been allowing the US government access to its servers. He went on to reiterate Google's stance on dealing with data requests. "Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don't follow the correct process," he said.

Page also alluded to Google's Transparency Report, claiming that the company always tries to be open about the data requests it receives. He concluded by calling for more clarity around the PRISM procedure so that personal freedom was not undermined.

Government officials react to leak

In response to the leaks, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denounced Mr Snowden's actions as "extremely damaging", with President Obama defending the initiative on national security grounds.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has also defended the US plans, suggesting the law abiding citizens would have nothing to worry about. A similar issue has been in the headlines in the UK recently amidst the government's controversial Communications Data Bill.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "Online privacy has always been a hot topic, and will doubtless continue to be so. This story is progressing all the time, so perhaps in a few days or weeks we may have a clearer picture as to exactly how the US government has been accessing this data."