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
    McBeese, 8 Dec 2009 @ 3:44pm

    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.

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