(THE GUARDIAN) — Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, reiterated the tech industry’s call for greater transparency from the US government over surveillance on Friday, but declined to “pass judgment” on American spying operations.

Speaking in New York, at an event hosted by the New America Foundation, Schmidt said it was time for a public debate about the nature of the surveillance activities carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA). But he also said that spying was a fact of modern life.

“There’s been spying for years, there’s been surveillance for years, and so forth, I’m not going to pass judgement on that, it’s the nature of our society,” he said.

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