Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Google, privacy and Eric Schmidt

I know this has already been done to death but I didn't have time to dig up a link while we were in New York. When Eric Schmidt said the other day that "if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" I thought back to 2005, when CNet used Google to look up Eric Schmidt and (in a companion piece) Live Search to look up Ballmer and Gates and (in CNet's words) "Google representatives instituted a policy of not talking with CNET reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story". (CNet seems not to have written up the story themselves, but CNN Money had more details). Google's view is presumably that if you publish information on a site or by running a search, it's fair game legally and morally - unless it's about Schmidt? Amused by the fervour of the discussions on a personal Mozilla blog that suggested the Bing privacy policy was better because Microsoft doesn't aggregate information from your Hotmail to your search results a la Google and Gmail; after discussing my personal discomfort over the Gears/HTML 5 team at Google showing a very cavalier attitude to privacy around location at the first Google IO ('we don't want a big dialog box for users to tick - we want [privacy decisions] to just kind of bubble up from user behaviour' was my favourite line, along with 'everything in the browser is inherently safe') with folk from Mozilla, I noticed how the Mozilla location demo at Google IO this year *started* with the privacy settings.

I could quote Larry Ellison too. But paraphrasing is quicker. 'You have no privacy' get over it'. Or I could link to the Onion Google Village video...
Tags: privacy, rant, technology

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