Responsibility for the amount of personal data available on the web lies with consumers rather than companies, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Schmidt acknowledged the growing chorus of complaints from privacy advocates about Google's practices – especially in the wake of the Street View scandal – but said the problem was a broader issue.
“The fact of the matter is that if you're online all the time, computers are generating a lot of information about you. This is not a Google decision, this is a societal decision,” he said.
Schmidt said Google uses personal data only to deliver better-targeted ads, which are at once more lucrative for Google and more interesting to the consumer.
And Google's users keep the company in check when it comes to collecting and using said data, Schmidt claimed.
He said internal testing indicated that “the vast majority” of people are perfectly happy with Google's privacy policies.
“And the reason that you should trust us is that if we were to violate that trust people would move immediately to someone else.”