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A federal agency has confirmed that Google is open to improving its current military government search program and provides possible explanations as to why the company may not be violating government policies.
On Tuesday evening, Wired first reported Google’s refusal to comply with government requests for data by saying that the company’s searches were “part of a legitimate internal product review and commercial business needs” and that it was allowed to continue using the technology within a space of limitations.
Wired and other media outlets had called on Google to respond to a classified February 2018 government document that they claimed “clearly states” that these programs are “government APIs, and not Google’s product to use for commercial purposes.”
In a statement from the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the agency highlighted the wide latitude in how technology can be used by companies within the U.S.
“As you know, we do not disclose content of specific requests,” the statement read. “But at the same time, the rule is not ‘keep mum about it, even if you won’t disclose content of particular requests.’ We release an annual report on compliance with federal privacy and security laws.”
It continued: “We released our 2017 Civilian Tech Issues Report to the public so that users of the reports can get an idea of the various policy questions that arise from accessing technologies that may be subject to various privacy and government regulatory laws.”
The OIG stated that it appreciates Google’s willingness to discuss the issue and said it plans to meet with the company in the near future to continue to discuss the issue.
— CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.