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
    DannyB, 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:51pm

    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.

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