Why Google’s privacy policy should scare you

Below is Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s position on data privacy, as reported by Broadstuff and The Huffington Post:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Put another way, Google thinks you have no right to privacy. Google wants every scrap of data about you it can find. And make no mistake, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the social media cloud…er, crowd are essentially of the same mind. The more they know about you, the more they can monetize you.

Now, a counterpoint may be that privacy is the currency that you spend for the privilege of using Google, Facebook and Twitter. Maybe so. But that isn’t a fair trade when, in many ways, they don’t tell you everything they know about you. The data equation is very one-sided. Facebook shouldn’t be the only organization with a copy of your Facebook page, and Twitter shouldn’t have the only instance of your Twitter feed — if only so someone besides those companies can rigorously mine the available data.

The social media heavyweights have a virtual dossier on you. To an extent, they’ll share it with you, as in the case of Google’s Privacy Dashboard. But real empowerment means holding and examining your personal data in your own analytical sandbox. Backing up your social data is a small way to even the privacy playing field.

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12 thoughts on “Why Google’s privacy policy should scare you

  1. I saw the TV interview in which Google CEO Eric Schmidt said those words, and it sounded a lot less evil in the context of the entire interview. As I recall, he was speaking about people posting things in public forums that they might regret later. It’s a sad commentary on the state of so-called journalism in this country that so many stories report things in a sensational way, when if the context were provided they would not be sensational at all.

    Having said all that, I do believe it is important to be careful what we not only post online, but how we interact with these cloud services. They are extremely useful services, but if abused, or successfully attacked, it could be disastrous for their users.

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