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.

Filed Under: eric schmidt, privacy


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  1. identicon
    Tyanna, 8 Dec 2009 @ 2:02pm

    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.

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