Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says privacy isn't important

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says privacy isn't important, and if you want to keep something private, "maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" (in other words, "innocent people have nothing to hide.")

Dr Eric Schmidt is very clever and wise. However, this hasn't always been Google's position. Has he changed his mind?

Google CEO On Privacy (VIDEO): 'If You Have Something You Don't Want Anyone To Know, Maybe You Shouldn't Be Doing It'

In July 2009, few months ago, he was wise enough to declare:

Eric Shmidt Interview July 2009: "I don't think anyone wants everything revealed. That's why we have doors and shades and so forth."

"..behavior of PPL online when they are teenagers. This isn't the sort of thing that they want to know when they are mature adults in leadership positions"

"...I have a specific suggestion that it should be common and legal to change your name at the age of twenty-one and say, "That wasn't me. It was a different person"'....

"I'm very strongly in favour of an individual's right of privacy but I'm very suspicious about Governments ..."

"...our Company makes a commitment to people to respect people's privacy and their personal information because it's central to the trust ..."

Read the entire interview transcript of Eric Schmidt for Marketplace in July 2009

Before that, in 2005, 'Google blackballed CNet's reporters after CNet published personal information about Schmidt's private life: ""Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking to CNET News reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story..."

A considerable amount of information is available through Google's applications and someone with access to Google's databases could find out about personal emails, locations, shopping, reading, preferences, travelling, etc...

The risk is that hackers, zealous government investigators, or even someone accessing this information using Google abuse that information. As Google, offering its services free of charge, processes a mountain of collected information, it has no liability to users.

It is a fact that if we directly paid Google we would be less vulnerable. At the moment, we pay a dangerous price with our privacy that is tremendously valuable.
Entering directly in contract with Google would make the company accountable.
As a free provider of services, Google inevitably lacks concern for our data: there have been incidents of data loss, human error (data sent out by mistake). We have no idea of how data are secured, what is done with our data and how it is processed. We need more transparency and maybe external audit of the mega giant activities.
Google is benefiting from a quasi monopolistic situation. Google just aggregates so much that it IS a serious threat to our privacy, reputation, identity, finances, career, health, etc…
We cannot trust Google any more. Don’t be evil when openly Google is under-estimating the value of our privacy.

Of course, Google is not immune from human mistakes, see:

The Rocky Mountain Bank’s customers private data revealed for random users because of humane mistake - Bank sues Google

When Google Runs Your Life

Google CEO Eric Schmidt Dismisses the Importance of Privacy

Dan Solove: "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy" answers E Schmidt


Google CEO says privacy doesn't matter. Google blacklists CNet for violating CEO's privacy.'

Tag: Google Privacy data Eric Schmidt user database


  1. This touches on something I have been saying for a long time; putting all this information in the "hands" of one entity (Google or anyone else) is creating a future timebomb. The attraction of all the free services that Google provides (soon to incl. phone services) together with the "fluffy & cuddly" image that Google tries to put out lulls people into a false sense of security.
    Another issue is that all data is hosted in "the cloud" which makes it almost impossible to determine the actual physical location of the date and which jurisdiction it falls under. Personally I suspect that this will blow up in a big way within the next 24 months.

  2. 'Replacing Google' -
    Google at the center of attention:
    - Google’s interview on CNBC with Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt.
    'The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explained why this statement is extremely scary. In reaction to Schmidt, Mozilla’s Community Manager Asa Dotzler recommended people to switch to Microsoft’s Bing, '
    ' Another open source hacker, Luis Villa, also expressed his concerns about Schmidt’s statement on his blog.'
    - Google’s Chrome browser, and usage tracking.
    - Google’s Chromium game with existing open source projects.
    ' Google just forked the code.'
    ' Google does not care to maintain its drivers in the Linux kernel tree'
    - Google's public DNS system.
    Google expands its collect of personal data and many commentors have been rasing concern.

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