Yikes. There are plenty of reasons why Google's Street View offering is not the privacy nightmare that some people are trying to turn it into. It's a public
view of things that anyone can see. It's also static and way out of date. But, Google's going to run into problems if it keeps letting CEO Eric Schmidt comment on the various privacy concerns people are raising. While we were among those who mocked
the ridiculously over-exaggerated anti-Google video made by the group Consumer Watchdog, that tried to portray Eric Schmidt as a creepy old man spying on everything you do, Schmidt himself isn't doing the company any favors lately. We already had mentioned his bizarre idea that kids might change their names
upon becoming adults in the future, but Schmidt just keeps on making rather creepy statements about privacy that suggests someone totally
out of touch with what people are actually complaining about.
John Paczkowski has a list of Schmidt's rather tone-deaf responses to privacy questions lately
- Addressed criticisms of Google's stance on privacy by saying, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
- Claimed people want Google to "tell them what they should be doing next."
- Said of Google, "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."
- Said this: "One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."
- Suggested name changes to protect adults from the Web's record of their youthful indiscretions.
- Said this: "What we're really doing is building an augmented version of humanity, building computers to help humans do the things they don't do well better."
And, then, there's the latest, in which he claims that one reason why Street View isn't so bad is because you could just move
, claiming (not quite accurately) that Street View only visits every place once. But that's unrelated to the issue. Street View isn't telling people where you live, so whether or not you live there or if you move is sort of meaningless. There are plenty of reasonable ways to respond to such a question, but it seems like each time Schmidt opens his mouth about these issues, he sounds incredibly out of touch and totally disconnected from the thing that people are actually complaining about.