Schmidt's 'Don't Do Stuff You Want To Keep Private' Sounds Like 'If You Aren't Doing Anything Wrong…'

from the you-sure-you-meant-that? dept

Over a decade ago, Sun founder Scott McNealy famously said “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” Apparently former McNealy protege, Eric Schmidt is now taking the same basic view in his current job as CEO of Google. In a recent interview he suggested that people pushing for privacy are the one’s at fault:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

This sounds suspiciously like a reheated version of “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about,” that’s trotted out by law enforcement types when pushing for stronger laws to violate individuals’ privacy. It’s an odd statement for someone like Schmidt to make, especially given the incredible level of scrutiny given to Google for the view it has into people’s lives. To folks who are worried about such things, it sounds positively dismissive, which isn’t the position that Google should be cultivating with those who are concerned right now. Furthermore, given Schmidt’s own thin skin when reporters posted some personal info (found via Google to prove a point) that resulted in a “ban” on talking to reporters from CNET for a bit, it’s really out of place.

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Comments on “Schmidt's 'Don't Do Stuff You Want To Keep Private' Sounds Like 'If You Aren't Doing Anything Wrong…'”

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aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile) says:

Re: Some help please.

Good luck buddy. I am not going to yell but I have a feeling a bunch of other people will. I remember saying almost the exact same thing several years ago. Wrong, illegal, and embarrassing are sometimes three completely different things and the government doesn’t have a great track record for keeping things a secret.

I won’t go into my personal example, but just understand that if my internet searches were made public I’d be sitting in a padded room.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: The Eternal Value of Privacy

(by Bruce Bruce Schneier)
The most common retort against privacy advocates — by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures — is this line: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

Some clever answers: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.” “Because the government gets to define what’s wrong, and they keep changing the definition.” “Because you might do something wrong with my information.” My problem with quips like these — as right as they are — is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It’s not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It’s intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

How many of us have paused during conversation in the past four-and-a-half years, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped on? Probably it was a phone conversation, although maybe it was an e-mail or instant-message exchange or a conversation in a public place. Maybe the topic was terrorism, or politics, or Islam. We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context, then we laugh at our paranoia and go on. But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered.

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Eternal Value of Privacy

I have paused. Turns out I had good reason. Feds had my mother’s phone tapped in an ongoing investigation against my cousin (money laundering, not terrorism). There is no telling what kind of crazy crap I spewed while they were listening, especially while she and I were talking politics.

aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Eternal Value of Privacy

Not incredibly. She worked at a small bank, before they were bought by a larger bank. The tellers lent money to people that were dead and several people shared it. People would take money to fill the ATMs and they wouldn’t get filled to the top. I didn’t know anything about it until it until the feds showed up at my mother’s house and asked her to call my cousin (who was apparently dodging the feds). Apparently the guys that showed up knew everyone’s name and knew my cousin answered the phone when my mother called on a regular basis.

I may jump online tonight and tell you the rest, but it’s really kind of a boring story.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Eternal Value of Privacy

“I may jump online tonight and tell you the rest, but it’s really kind of a boring story.”

Well, spice that shit up with some lies then, dammit. I want to be entertained! Or maybe I can do a work for hire fictionalization of the story for you to give to her as a Xmas present, so she has something better to tell her fellow inmates (assuming she’s incarcirated)….

R. Miles (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Eternal Value of Privacy

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right.
A very well written reply to the issue and almost came close to wanting to frame it myself, until this popped up and reared its ugly head.

As I continued reading, I was hoping this would be addressed further, but unfortunately, it was not.

I completely agree there is need for privacy, but to call it a right is becomes questionable when such activity is placed outside the scope of the definition.

We expect privacy of a phone conversation, but it is foolish to think it’s a right to have when the conversation takes place where privacy isn’t guaranteed.

Recently, Mike wrote about his issue at having his VPN blocked by Hulu. Is this privacy a right or an expectation?

The very scope of which one expects privacy often gets confused with “public domain”. Privacy is no longer afforded people when such actions by these people rely, unsuspecting, on the network’s infrastructure to deliver said private data.

A very, very limited example of this is writing a letter, applying a wax seal on this letter, then handing it to a courier for delivery in which the recipient should expect an unbroken seal.

The very moment the letter was not personally delivered to the recipient, the expectation of privacy is entrusted to someone else.

I would suspect every person who has expects privacy is completely foolish to rely on others to deliver it without incident.

I concur with the statement in that one who uses an infrastructure to send private information has lost all rights to said privacy when such actions were foolish to begin with to not deliver the information themselves.

Yes, this means if you send credit card information over the web, and the information is violated, your expectations of privacy were not met but you were completely foolish to think it wouldn’t be.

We take great care as to not release our information based on perception and it takes those willing to risk lost information to secure our beliefs the system is less risky, though never 100% safe.

We don’t ever think our privacy will be abused by, as an example, but will get completely upset if we find it has. Data breaches are another example of this, to which people insist this data be kept private, but fails to understand why it never is.

I did enjoy the “bathroom” reference. We can safely say our use of the bathroom in our home is justified to be surveillance free and it’s completely justified to challenge this type of surveillance.

But it is not justified to argue this if cameras are placed in the bathrooms of department stores. We expect them not to be there, but we shouldn’t get upset if they are.

This is where the statement comes into play, in that you have no privacy when you’re in “public”. Sure, it’s going to really piss you off if the video of you using the restroom is thrown onto YouTube because of a privacy breach, but it’s rather foolish for you to have thought there wasn’t a chance it could happen.

Of course, we can’t be expected to remain in our homes 100% of the time, so rely on the fact once you step out of your home or send stuff from your home, there’s no such thing as privacy.

Realize this now, because it’s true. Our forefathers most certainly knew of this, even while framing the constitution. Spies were used during war, and spies are the crowning definition of the destroyer of expected privacy.

I’m sorry many of you feel this position is wrong, but I’m not the one who placed you in it.

Think about this:
-When someone asks you for your SSN which has nothing to do with your benefits.
-When someone requests they pull your credit report when not lending you money
-When someone requests your medical history and they’re not a physician
-When someone calls you on the phone

Privacy is just as much an impossibility as is anonymous data. Ironically, most anonymous data contains private data we expect never to be breached.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Some help please.

“Okay, so I have to ask because I seriously don’t know, but what’s wrong (if anything at all) with the “If you aren’t doing anything wrong…” argument?”

Well, the problem is that such a philosophy really can only work if those doing the enforcement are perfectly virtuous, which being human none of them are. What tends to scare the hell out of people is the extreme examples (Godwin alert!) in the Nazis or Mao Chinese. Was the average Jew doing anything wrong for which they were persecuted? Any reasonable person would say no. Did they have something to worry about with the invasion of their privacy by the government? Absolutely.

Remember that the Nazis didn’t decide to begin murdering millions of Jews overnight. It was a methodical, albeit relatively speedy, advance from milder forms of persecution, including: weapons registration and control, loss of benefits and lesser rights, loss of property rights, loss of representation in government, etc. etc. etc. In fact, many of these losses can be seen in America today.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that our government is on par with the Nazis (though both governments have historically been financed by many of the same people), but the simple answer to your question is evident in these examples: fear of invasion of privacy at the behest of law enforcement isn’t because one has done something wrong, but because the government’s analysis of what’s wrong is unreasonable.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Some help please.

Was the American Revolution wrong? (From the point of view of Americans today)

Would the American Revolution have ever happened if the founding fathers had been under constant surveillance by the British?

The heart of the problem with “if you have nothing to hide” is that what the government (or government employees) believes is wrong is not always the same as what society believes is wrong, that people always abuse the power and knowledge that they have, and there is plenty that people wish to be private that are in no way wrong.

Urza9814 says:

Re: Some help please.

“Okay, so I have to ask because I seriously don’t know, but what’s wrong (if anything at all) with the “If you aren’t doing anything wrong…” argument?”

Just look back a couple articles on Techdirt….

Besides, just because I’m not doing anything wrong that doesn’t mean I want everyone in the world to know what I’m doing. Have you never hid anything from, say, your parents? I mean I’m not doing anything wrong when I’m alone with my girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean I want my _mom_ knowing all the details of what we do (we’re 20 btw). Or either of our previous partners for that matter. Just because there’s nothing wrong with, say, looking at porn, that doesn’t mean you want your grandma to know you do it.

And to move a bit further, what if, for example, you’re gay? Yes, some people want to broadcast that to the entire world, and that’s fine. But others don’t. What if you’re gay in a very conservative town? In a strict Muslim nation? What if you’re a whistleblower? What if you’re trying to start a union? Hell I’ve run into plenty of problems trying to start a drug policy reform group on a rather conservative campus – it’s not illegal at all, but still at least 90% of the people who walk up and say they support us refuse to sign up for our mailing list or come to meetings because they’re afraid they’ll be denied a job later because of it.

Just because your actions are legal does not mean you want them public. And just because you aren’t ashamed of them does not mean you want everyone in the world to know about it.

Tyanna says:

Re: Some help please.

Earlier today there was a post about a man who has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. He will serve jail time, be on lengthy probation, and will forever live on the sex offender list. His crime was to download a file that he thought was regular porn but turned out to show an underage child. He deleted it right away…but the fact that he downloaded it means he’s guilty.

The there are two main problems that I have with the ‘if you aren’t doing anything wrong’ argument; first is that everyone eventually does something that’s wrong. Like the poor guy above, you will eventually cross some hidden line between the right and wrong side of the law.

Second is that we can’t trust those in power to use this information appropriately. The guy deleted the file, but was still guilty. His life is ruined for a mistake.

I personally don’t trust those in power not to abuse the information, mainly b/c the past has shown that they will eventually abuse that information. This site alone has many MANY examples of that.

interval says:

Re: Some help please.

> “Okay, so I have to ask because I seriously don’t know, but what’s wrong (if anything at all) with the “If you aren’t doing anything wrong…” argument?”

Because its semantically the same argument for God that goes along the lines of “If God doesn’t exist, prove it.” How free a society can we truly be if we need to constantly show that we are doing nothing illegal?

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Some help please.

“… what’s wrong (if anything at all) with the “If you aren’t doing anything wrong…” argument? “

If you don’t think you’ve done SOMETHING wrong, you’re just not paying attention. You have. That’s all they need. Your ass is going to jail.

How many prison rape jokes have you made? Just curious.

Rebecca Olesen says:

Re: Some help please.

I know this is old, but I can’t believe somebody doesn’t understand why the ideology of ‘if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t mind….if we read all your shit, look in your closet, listen to your phone calls, watch everything you do, etc.’ is most definitely wrong.

You don’t understand that if I am not doing anything wrong, and there is nothing to indicate that I am doing something wrong, that I still might ott want all my personal information readily available for the general public and fascist persecutorial minded individuals and government agencies?

You see, what is considered WRONG varies from country to country, group to group, religion to religion, and changes throughout time. What was considered okay 70 years ago is wrong today, and what many consider right is considered very wrong by others. Being able to find out which people to victimize easily, based on personal biases, prejudices, and a fascist control mentality is INCREDIBLY dangerous.

If this were 1937 Germany, simply being Jewish would be considered wrong. If I wanted to hide that fact, these types of issues would make that very difficult.

In modern day Somalia, both Al Shebaab and the so called actual government use wiretapping and other methods to gain proof that someone is a Christian. In one case a woman speaking to family members on the phone to finalize travel arrangements for the following day – she was leaving to escape persecution & death because she was Christian. Rather than allow her to leave with her family, after confirmation of her evil Christian nature, militants drove directly to her home. When she opened the door, they slit her throat in front of her kids – her husband ran away & her children were taken away.

If you think there are not people in our allegedly free countries who will not use the same methods to have their own way, you are mistaken.

There are plenty of people, within our governments, people with religious or political ideologies against Freedom, who wish to silence dissenters, anyone who doesn’t agree. Even though it is ALLEGEDLY our FREE RIGHT to disagree or express our different beliefs, doing so can and does lead to persecution, violence, harassment, etc.

So tell me again why you think people shouldn’t care if they are continuously spied on if ‘they aren’t doing anything wrong’. WHO DECIDES WHAT IS WRONG? McCarthy decided communism was wrong, muslims decide that all other religions are wrong, our governments decide that some things we say should become criminal offenses AND if we complain about say immigration or something like that, they will twist what we say and call it hate speech. Persecution.

I don’t care if I am 100% honest, law abiding, keep all my opinions to myself, and do or say nothing that would offend anybody on earth I STILL WANT MY PRIVACY! It’s mine, for god’s sake it’s almost all I have left to call my own are my thoughts, my privacy and my conversations with others.

These globalist money grubbers are making veiled threats when they say that if we want it to remain private, we shouldn’t put it anywhere online (an email, a letter, a phone call, skype, carrier pigeon) and in that WAY scares people into silence on all things.

I want other people to mind their own business, leave me alone, allow me to live without some instilled paranoia of BIG BROTHER watching my every word so that they may ‘re-educate’ me if I am considered WRONG.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve been watching this story a bit and I still can’t tell if it’s being taken out of context. My favorite example (although not the one I came up with which was much more boring) was smoking weed. Searching for something on Google is the equivalent to standing on the corner outside (because the feds can get that data pretty easily these days). If you don’t want people to know you’re smoking weed, don’t do it out on the street corner. If you don’t want the feds to know you have a fetish for diaper wearing clowns wearing a Groucho mustache then don’t search for it on Google.

DH's love child says:

Re: Re:

“If you don’t want the feds to know you have a fetish for diaper wearing clowns wearing a Groucho mustache then don’t search for it on Google.”

But I SHOULD be able to search for it on Google, or Bing, or Yahoo. If I were doing the same research in a (public) library I would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You must watch a lot of movies. Seriously, anyone who buys the Anarchist’s Cookbook is probably too stupid to do anything worthy of attracting the feds’ attention.

Rather than flagging book purchases (can you imagine the wasted man hours?) they probably keep a log of all of the books everyone bought and, only once they decide to aim their Federal Magnifying Glass at you, THEN they go to their massive database and look up what books you have bought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nate, you need to be yelled at now. Just kidding. I am going to waggle a finger, though, because right now you’re sitting in a safe place. It’s warm and comfy where you live.

In other places, your preferred sexual partner may get you killed. Or the government can change hands and what was once okay is no longer okay. Or you might have powerful enemies who use information against you. You aren’t thinking of that because you’re comfy.

Recently, a teacher was fired because vacation photos showed her (OMG PANIC!) clutching what might be an alcoholic beverage. Now, this is a ridiculous holdover from a century ago when teachers were supposed to be unmarried virgins who were just shy of nunhood, but there you go. That’s what can happen when you get out of your comfort zone.

I could go on and on with scenarios which could and have happened, but the main thing is that you need to think like someone who isn’t comfy.

Robert Ring (profile) says:

Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

I haven’t taken the time to read the above comments, but without giving this TOO much thought, this is how I see it: I think this philosophy can be good depending on its context.

If you’re talking about government oversight, it’s one hundred-percent BAD. It leads ultimately to fascism. Let’s get that out of the way.

If you’re talking everyday morality or practicality, though, I think it can be good advice. If you’re doing something you’d be ashamed of others knowing you did, one of two problems probably exists with your action: Either (1) you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing, or (2) you’re embarrassed about who you are, which is not morally improper but psychologically unhealthy.

As to the practicality of the statement, it makes sense in that virtually anything you do can be discovered by the world — just by the nature of the society in which we live. Therefore, if there’s something you don’t want people to know you’ve done, you probably shouldn’t do it because there’s a good chance someone will find out.

DH's love child says:

Re: Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

So you won’t mind if we all watch you and your partner having sex, and listening to the pillow talk… you’re gonna webcast your showers now because you’re not embarassed. We can put a gps on your car to see where you’re going, as you wouldn’t be going anywhere that ANYONE would consider unseemly. You don’t mind if we check your mail as it goes out, look at your credit card and bank statements – because YOU aren’t sending correspondence or making payments that would raise anyone’s eyebrows?

That’s what you’re saying right? right?

yeah, that’s what I thought…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

“That’s what you’re saying right? right?”

No, that wasn’t was he was saying at all. Try reading the post this time.

If he isn’t doing anything wrong, then yes, that *is* what it would mean *unless* he’s a hypocrite. (That in the kind of question that is intended to expose hypocrites.)

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

There’s a difference between doing something that you would be ashamed that others know you did, and doing something you would be embarrassed if others saw you doing. I would be embarrassed to have strangers watching me poop, but I am certainly not ashamed that they know I do it.

His point is that if you are doing something you would be ashamed of if known, you should examine yourself. Either you’re doing something wrong and should stop, or you’re not and should let go of your shame.

jjmsan (profile) says:

Re: Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

There is no such thing as everyday morality. There are a bunch of options in existance, but the interpretation of them varies from person to person. Besides that is not the point of the argument, the point is that the arguments user is doing something that most people would object to having done to themselves, but justifying it by saying “but I only do it to bad people”

DCX2 says:

Re: Politics vs. Morality vs. Practicality

Either (1) you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing, or (2) you’re embarrassed about who you are, which is not morally improper but psychologically unhealthy.

Or (3) you are proud of who you are, but society as a whole has yet to tolerate who you are, for whatever reason, despite being a 100% law abiding citizen.

The classic example would be gays and lesbians, who quite often must keep their sexuality a secret or face harassment, humiliation, physical assault, or even death. Practitioners of BDSM are another group who are concerned with privacy but surely not embarrassed by who they are.

Chris (profile) says:


I think this quote has been taken out of context, though I still find it rather disturbing.

I believe Schmidt was referring to the privacy of your web searches through Google, specifically in regard to how easily law enforcement can obtain those search records if they so desire. He’s saying that you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when searching for, (for example,) “ways to kill your spouse”, as that data is leaving your computer and your home, at which point it essentially becomes public info.

That said, I host my own email and always will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Scott McNealy was a great person who created a platform for financial institutions that was able to compile transactional-level data. There is no doubt about that.

What Scott forgot was that he’s done. His company is about to be swallowed up by Oracle, and happened to be the very company that he was in competition with. Oracle, as you may recall, was originally the name of a database Larry Ellison developed while working in Government sector. I think it was an FBI or CIA system, but can’t fully recall.

I never really did understand Ellison’s desire to swallow upsuch good companies as Sybase, Siebel, Portal Software, BEA or MetaSolv, and not continue with their development path, and instead move to move these to other internal applications. It seems Ellison works on Acquire-Extinguish mentality.

How many Siebel implementations have ended in disaster? Because that seems to be the desired outcome for Sun. Remember recently, Oracle picked up MySQL via a Sun MicroSystems partnership. And MySql has a partnership with SAP to develop their SAPDB partnership.

What’s the problem?
Ego and lots of it. While Mr. McNealy may have been a major influence on Mr. Schmidt, I have to think that some of those thoughts and ideas need to either go the way of Oracle, or be beefed up. What was shared was shared. There’s no in between. Regardless of what happened when he bought Siebel, thousands of people were without phone service.

Whose side are you on, Eric?

chris (profile) says:

Re: So...

Does this mean I have to let authorities film me having sex, or that sex is immoral and punishable by law?

just about all sex (at least all the interesting stuff) is illegal/immoral/unacceptable somewhere thanks to the literally countless number of state, local, federal and international laws, regulations, agreements, treaties, and decrees. this could easily be extended to any action, no matter how mundane you may believe it to be.

no one has absolute recollection and understanding of the law, nor do they have full recollection and understanding of every word they have ever uttered, nor every action they have ever performed, nor every person who was present to see, hear, or otherwise observe those words and actions. also they neither have complete recollection and understanding of the contents of their homes, vehicles, computers, financial transactions, or medical histories, nor do they have absolute recollection and understanding of the histories of their families, friends, co-workers, neighbors or associates.

simply put, you think you know that you have nothing to hide, but you really have no idea.

once you understand that, you will understand that no one, at any time, in any place, under any circumstance, has “nothing to hide”, ever.

we all have “everything” to hide simply because we have no clue and couldn’t possibly know what “everything” is. somewhere, you might be guilty of something, that is wrong according to someone. therefore, we should be free to take every available action to avoid any and all scrutiny at all times.

haha says:

copyright is nt ownership

seems corporation push now is the YOU DONT have privacy bullshit

ya know i htink if they dont want provacy then lets put cameras in all the board mettings and lets put cameras all over them
don’t ask us regular people to get spied on
they already know that leads to revolutions…
if youwant society to get pent up and rage agaisnt you this will do it
NO PRiVACY my ass no kind sirs its the corproations wanting hitler style laws again
go do what i said first and btw you want no provacy we want them cameras in EVERY ROOM of there houses
everywhere they go

SEE how quick they will be for ACTA when they have to take cameras into it

Jakdor (profile) says:

Freedom, fascism and oppression

What always strikes me as odd is this: The USA was founded on the concept of freedom; the UK fought against fascism/oppression (as did others!!) and yet these two countries are now hell bent on curbing the one and introducing the other. At what point did the governments make the transition across the divide? and more to the point, why? Do those in power really believe they, the few, can control the lives of the many and for what purpose?

The human condition is just plain odd……

1DandyTroll says:

What does this mean?

Does it mean that google would happily open their “books” when police comes a looking after a complaint against google invading people’s privacy?

What with google obviously doesn’t have anything to hide, so opening the “books” wouldn’t be a problem.

I guess we’ll know soon enough, when EU comes a knocking.

Tweedbolt (profile) says:

I think the main problem with Eric Schmidt’s statement is that he probably won’t follow it himself. I personally have no problem with the idea of total surveillance, provided I can watch the people watching me. So, Google can give authorities every last thing I ever search for, as long as I can watch Eric Schmidt jacking off to diaper-clown-groucho-mustache porn and then watch the authorities jacking off to me jacking off to Eric Schmidt jacking off to diaper-clown-grouch-mustache porn.
With that said, maybe there’s a way to give this whole debacle a happy ending. If we collectively give up privacy all at once, instead of letting it be taken from us selectively over time, it could be a weird sort of DDOS attack on the surveillance powers of authorities. The main reason that authorities are able to crack down upon “undesirables” so effectively is that they do it at such a slow pace and without raising a fuss. By doing it this way they’re also able to control the information released about who they’ve arrested to an extent, thus allowing the narrative of the arrest to be portrayed in a way that’s more congruous to their agenda.
While all of that second paragraph was sort of conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo, I feel the idea is sound and worth looking into.

McBeese says:

My simple perspective

I’m not doing anything seriously wrong, but I still take great exception to the premise that “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, it’s all good”.

Why? Because there are many moving parts in my life and I want to – and should be able to – control the flow of data to those parts.

I want to be able to decide what personal data flows to my family. That will be a different set of data than that which flows to my friends. Same again for my colleagues. I have the right to be in charge of deciding who sees what, unless I make stuff public domain. In my case, I don’t mind if the feds have access to all of my data but that doesn’t mean that I want to give up the right to change my mind on that or that everyone else should feel the same way.

So it isn’t that I’ve got something to hide, it’s simply that life is more complicated than one big flat Google world. Facebook gets this, and are rolling out privacy features. Google doesn’t get it, IMHO. Google is the new Microsoft.

Lyle says:

In a village there never was much privacy.

Recall in the early days of the internet everyone talked about the global village. They forgot that in a village everyone knew everyones business. There were busybodies who watched comings and goings and gossiped over everything. Well we got the unintended consequence of the village less privacy. Its in some sense a be careful what you ask for you might get it issue. A surveillance camera is little different than the busybody for example except for costs , one could in principle put booths up at corners and station observers there. (Hey I just solved the unemployment problem, replace cameras with humans!)

Really says:

Ummm - what ?

“But it is not justified to argue this if cameras are placed in the bathrooms of department stores. We expect them not to be there, but we shouldn’t get upset if they are.”

Are you imlying that this is legal?
People should be upset?
What the Hell

I suppose you also think it is ok for some perv to record people trying on clothes in said store, and people should expect this to happen therefore they should not get upset about it.

Hopefully they would remain calm and promptly contact a good lawyer.

DannyB says:

If nobody has any privacy, then nobody should mean everybody

If we become a society that has no privacy, then it is very important that we make sure that EVERYONE has NO privacy.

It is important that we have equal access to the private lives of all of the “important” people.

When you first consider this concept, your gut reaction will be that it is bad. But if you (large class of average joe fourpack) cannot have privacy, and can never get it back, then it is important that the “important” people also have an equal lack of privacy. That way everyone is at least on an equal footing.

Eric Schmidt should support this equality. After all, if he isn’t doing anything wrong, he’s got nothing to hide.

There are some important upsides to it as well. If we knew everything about every politician or corporate executive, we might have a much more transparent society and government. There might be a lot less they could get away with. Imagine if we knew the intimate details of their social networks.

lofa (user link) says:

Both Microsoft and Google are evil. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. Neither deserve recognition, support or to be spat upon. Privacy is about freedom and choice, not necessarily “hiding things”. And what is so bad about practicing privacy? I believe that people should maintain privacy to a certain degree. These corporations don’t need to know everything about you. [Personal] “Information” is a hot commodity seller. Information = profits. Money is the “god” of planet earth. Money is the root of evil. As the old saying goes, a fool and his money soon part.

Bingu Blakewell says:


Do you have the name of this teacher? Who were her bosses? What school did she work for?

The people have the right to:
*1. Ask that the district re-hire her
*2. If not, the district pay her a salary/pension for ten years. It cannot be cut off for any reason
*3. If the district refuses to pay her, the people begin a punishment program. The people responsible for her firing have their personal lives scrutinized. There are protests at their houses (yes, that is legal). Businesses are asked to stop serving those individuals. Businesses that don’t are scrutinized themselves. Attack websites are made.

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