When the National Security Agency wanted Christine Jones to give them access to information on her company’s clients, she refused.
“It was my strong conviction that law abiding citizens are protected by the Constitution,” Jones, the former general counsel of web hosting company GoDaddy.com, said in an interview. “And if the government wants to eavesdrop on their conversations, they need to swear on a warrant and they need to have probable cause. And unless and until they do that, I’m not their guy.”
Jones is now running for governor of Arizona in a crowded Republican primary. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, she discussed her work in the tech world, her thoughts on NSA spying and her experience standing up to the Chinese.
Here is a full transcript of the interview, lightly edited for length and clarity.
TheDC: You worked for GoDaddy, the only major internet giant to not give the NSA access to client information. Tell me about that.
Jones: If you look at the list of the nine major Internet companies that participated in the PRISM program – that’s the program that Edward Snowden revealed — pretty much every major Internet company is on the list except for GoDaddy.
I took the position that even though it’s important for internet providers to cooperate with law enforcement, privacy interests — weighed with the national security interests — had to win the day. Anytime any law enforcement around the world came to us with a properly issued search warrant, visa order, cease and desist, any sort of order that was issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, we cooperated readily. And we did it a lot. And we helped to catch lots of bad guys. But anytime we were asked to do something without a proper order form a court, the answer was no.
And I don’t know why no other major internet company took that position. You will not find GoDaddy’s name on that list. It was my strong conviction that law abiding citizens are protected by the Constitution and if the government wants to eavesdrop on their conversations, they need to swear on a warrant and they need to have probable cause. And unless and until they do that, I’m not their guy.
TheDC: Rand Paul filed a lawsuit against the President and other members of the administration this week over the government’s collection of telephone metadata, saying it violates the 4th amendment. What did you think of that?
Jones: I haven’t read the lawsuit. I saw the story. I agree that something has to change. Because I saw a shift in the type of boldness of the administration once President Bush left and President Obama took over. I really do think it’s an attitude of the administration. And if you have an administration that does not respect constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, than perhaps an United States senator needs to bring a lawsuit.