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Google Motto: Do More Evil

If you are pretentious enough to coin a company motto of "Do no evil," you should be circumspect enough to actually follow that code -- or at least have the appearance of trying. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is either a hypocrite or living in a dream world, as he continually sloughs off suggestions that his company is anything but pure. Instead, he puts the onus on us to protect our own privacy -- from him!

He suggested that if we were afraid of anyone finding out what we do online we shouldn't do it. He then advised us to change our names to escape our Web pasts (he later told John Stewart it was a joke, but this was weeks after the damage was done. If it was a joke, why not address it immediately?).

His latest boner is telling us that if we don't like StreetView invading our privacy, we can just move. To where? To another house spied on by StreetView?

StreetView is even more insidious than I once thought. Now Google has admitted StreetView sniffed out e-mail addresses and passwords (on top of the Mac addresses Google already copped to).

In both cases, Google claims the data gathering was an accident. How can such a genius company make so many amateur mistakes?

If we listened to Schmidt, we can change our names and move. Jeepers, that won't raise too many red flags with Homeland Security! It's bad enough when our own government invades our privacy, but a private company? Dang.

Do we need tougher rules to restrict what companies such as Google and Facebook can do with our online information?

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/27/2010 at 1:18 PM

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 stacey

I believe the question in the article was: Do we need tougher rules to restrict what companies such as Google and Facebook can do with our online information? AND the answer is YES! I cannot believe people think Microsoft is a "big, bad" company, what do they have on us, error reports? Google has everything and they're undeniably creepy.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

Doug, StreetView insidious? Eric Schmidt making a ridiculous comment and everyone up in arms and clinging to it with some kind of manic furor? Really? The players are different but I feel like I am watching (reading) Fox News - fair and balanced - Really?

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Who somewhere my love

I remember the original google motto was "Don't be evil", not "Do no evil". So, that makes it totally different? No. Just mincing words. Hm, who would have thought that an effort to know everything about everyone and everything would lead to a font of knowledge that lends or sells itself to surveillance, and that we all would volunteer to participate in this social experiment ?

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

Managing your reputation (what other people know or think they know about you) is a problem as old as humanity. Technology did not create this problem, it just extended it. Family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances all talk about you when you're not around, and share information about you that you'd probably rather be kept confidential. The ultimate solution has ever been to isolate oneself away from prying eyes & ears. It's still possible to go "off the grid", or at least off the Internet, but it isn't very convenient, and you sacrifice the positive power to create and exercise influence on a social network. In other words, if you're going to "expose yourself" via participation in the modern Internet infrastructure, at least do it in such a way that optimizes the value that you receive in return, in terms of social "capital".

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

The question is: Who owns the your personal information ? If your information were an original creation (Think: Art, Book, or Movie) then it would be covered by copyright. Makes one wonder.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

RIP: Privacy

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

Can you hear the outcry? People can say what they want but most of them don't care about privacy. Just give me my freebies (Whether it's health care or internet apps) and let me play.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Corporal Reality Fort Outloud

We entered the "1984" privacy era a long time ago. (It was in all the papers.) And it's (surprise!) the government, not private enterprise, even though they are are trying really hard. Our privacy has only the protection we provide.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Tommy the Techtoon

If Google can grab emails and passwords anyone can. At what point do individuals who demand all this new technology start to take some responsibility for using it and securing it? Why does it seem like people always yell for more laws before demanding more personal responsibility?

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Lenny the Louse Your neighborhood

Hey youse guys, it used to take days to case a joint, but now, thanks to Google it only take minutes and we aren't restricted to our local area. Now, the world is our oyster. Youse guys wanna stop Google from takin' pitchers? Well, that would be infringin' on my livelihood and don't forget... I know where youse guys live!

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

He's right. Ask the the guy on the street, the cop on the corner or the NSA agent snooping in your trash. They couldn't care less if Google grabs emails and passwords. They don't care what Facebook does with personal information, most of them are completely unaware that there is even a problem at all. I've asked a lot of people about the abuses by Google and Facebook. I've asked young people, old people, the homey on the block, fat people, skinny people, even kids with chicken pox and they all look at my with a glazed expression and say, "Huh?"

Thu, Oct 28, 2010

Want better control over companies like Google and Facebook? Stop using them. I know it radical idea in a society where people will keep a broken iPhone and complain about it rather than just return it, but yes, stop using them. But people don't. Won't! Why? I've asked. I can't find anyone other than people online that care. You remember them, physical human beings. I'm serious. They just don't care. I don't use either. Can't for the life of me understand why people do, but the folks I talk to think I'm nuts not to Twitter my every move and thought to the world, not to use my phone to announce exactly where I am at every moment, or place every private personal bit of my life on a Facebook or MySpace page. I can't get anyone to use NoScript or Ghostery when they browse or use any of the (free!) sandbox applications to prevent changes to their system or at the very least use Spybot's Teatimer to watch for registry changes, Instead, everyone whines whenever Windows pops up and asks, "Did you want to make changes to your computer that will basically destroy your operating system?" The question of what information these companies gather and how they use it is rendered moot simply because it's only those of us writing these sorts of responses to these sorts of articles, preaching to the already converted, that care.

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 JohnnyB Sydney, Australia

Has anyone commented on how the data was collected rather than why?

A simple guess was that Google was recording data packets on all frequencies and then sending them back for analysis.

Google didn't mean to capture peoples personal data but they did because the average non-computer literate person who purchase a wireless router with their new note/netbook does have any idea about security.

Governments should be concerned but not to blame Google but to mandate that all new wireless devices be secured by default.

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 Davis Keizer, OR

For Schmidt to say that StreetView drivers collected certain information by accident is certainly reaching. While it is true that the drivers did not purposely collect the information with intent to harm those who freely gave it up, they certainly could have anticipated that they would gather such information when looking for wi-fi hotspots. But for you to call their actions spying is equally preposterous. StreetView has several legitimate uses, not the least of which is surveying a neighborhood virtually when shopping for real estate online. Overall, though, I have little sympathy for those users whose email addresses and passwords got caught up in the net cast by the drivers. Privacy is less a right than it is a responsibility. If I purchase and then install a radio transmitter -- which is what a wireless router in fact is -- I have the responsibility to keep information that I want to remain secret off any device that is connected to it. Additionally, if I don't want others freeloading on my Internet access, I have the responsibility to secure the radio by following the easy instructions for enabling authentication and encryption. After all, if I have left the drapes and curtains on my windows open, the doors to the house open, and turned on the neon sign saying that I am open for business while I am away, I can hardly blame those who accept my invitation for invading my "privacy".

Wed, Oct 27, 2010


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 Den Kansas City, MO

Doug, do you really think that tougher rules are going to change the behavior that has become endemic in the online world? Internet companies are by and large aggregators and brokers of data about our online lives. This is not likely to change anytime soon. Moreover, government here and elsewhere is either mandating or considering the requirement that online activity logs be stored for long periods. The surveillance society is here now; thinking that it's going to diminish because of "tougher rules" is naive, at the least. It's in the interest of regulators and security people to have this information available to track "the bad guys." As sad as I am to agree with all the pronouncements about the end of personal privacy, I have to concur. Privacy is dead - get used to it, own that fact, and begin acting accordingly.

Wed, Oct 27, 2010

Online data is one thing, but canvassing neighborhoods and collecting data is another. Tying the two together brings on my paranoia - 1984 anyone?

Wed, Oct 27, 2010

Eric Shmidt is way off base. Here is how Google has affected my wife's life. She was injured on the job through no fault of her own. She took Workers Comp and had back surgery. She now has an extremely difficult time getting a job, even though she is extremely well qualified and was told she was the top candidate. We suspect that whenever anyone googles her name, they find out that she was on workers comp, and then lose interest in hiring her. Thanks Eric.

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