According to one regular reader here, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is “a dangerous fool”. Another reader expressed a similar view (albeit, in slightly stronger words), when he wrote “Google are bast**ds. And so is anyone else who keeps information on people ….. they don’t have the right, or our permission.”
Unusual points of view do you think? Or, are these two views more broadly held than either Google, or Schmidt, are prepared to acknowledge?
Listening to Schmidt pontificate on the privacy issue in the last year or so, you would be forgiven if you believed the fight against Google’s virtually raping of the public’s privacy, for commercial gain, is all over – except perhaps for the crying.
Quotable quotes from Schmidt in the last year include:
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
“We (Google) know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”
“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
He managed to top these inflammatory bits of Google wisdom recently however, when he suggested – children could be entitled to change their names when they got older, if they want to escape their youthful indiscretions, and disassociate themselves from their one-time online lives.
Given the unprecedented ability Google has to collect endless streams of data, and correlate that data (much of that ability jealously guarded), I have no doubt, that Schmidt’s seemingly bizarre view, is well founded.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist in any sense, but I do believe that the very structure of Google constitutes an attack on a basic human right – the right to be “left alone”.
I admit, I’m in the minority in recognizing the truth, in that occasionally seen bumper sticker – “Google Is Not Your Friend”. But, I’m far from being alone.
Consumer Watchdog’s, Inside Google, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, ….. to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives”, has crafted a short though provoking video – “Don’t Be Evil?”, in which “Google Is Not Your Friend”, takes on new meaning.
To view the video on YouTube, just click on the graphic.
As well, the video is currently running 36 times a day in New York’s Times Square.
While the fight to rein in Google might seem unwinnable, privacy advocates have not lost the battle yet. Earlier this year, Google was condemned by the privacy watchdogs of 10 countries (including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy), for showing a “disappointing disregard” for safeguarding the private information of its users.
If you believe that your privacy is worth fighting for, then join with the “good guys” and become proactive in the campaign to manacle the Google octopus.
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