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
    Tweedbolt, 8 Dec 2009 @ 2:35pm

    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.

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