Google and privacy

Via email from Chet:

In the past I have said I don’t mind private business getting overbearing as much as I do the government doing so. But when an industry leader uses the invasion of your privacy to it’s advantage without repercussions the rest of the industry is almost forced to follow along or get left in the financial dust. And once the technology is deployed and a profit can be made selling it to the government someone will do that too. It won’t matter how evil it is (read IBM and the Holocaust), if the price is right, and with a government involved the price could be you (or your company) continuing to survive, the information will be abused.

There needs to be repercussion for companies who do this. The “noise” and the boycotts need to start before the information is abused.

I know a lot more than I am at liberty to say and it hurts to bite my tongue this hard…

Note: Full disclosure—I work for Microsoft who is a competitor of Google.


5 thoughts on “Google and privacy

  1. So, first, the clip is frackin’ hilarious. Kudos on that. Second, I too am a little uncomfortable with Google’s voracious appetite for information and its uncanny ability to tie that information to me and use it to sell me stuff. That said, I disagree with your “IBM and the Holocaust” comment. I read that book, or as much of it as I could stomach, and I think the whole premise is crap. Did the German government leverage technology to commit its crimes? Certainly. Did IBM profit from this relationship, of course. But blaming IBM would be like blaming MontBlanc if they had done it all by long hand in ledgers, which they would have if it were necessary. They were determined to do wrong and they would not be deterred by mere bookkeeping.

    Besides, isn’t the “IBM is culpable in the holocaust” argument a lot like the “Colt is culpable in gang shootings” argument?


  2. Huh? What happened to all that Freedom and liberty you crave? Those same freedoms apply to corporations. I don’t believe Google broke any laws when they collected information and I wouldn’t want the government to pass more laws since we have more than enough laws on the books already (as you guys always say).

  3. GD,

    Colt doesn’t sell special purpose firearms designed for drive-by shootings exclusively to gangs who don’t hide their illegal activities. IBM created systems specifically for the Nazis to identify Jews.


    I don’t advocate more laws targeted at Google. I would like to see public criticism of their data collection which could be abused. For example, it fails my Jews In The Attic Test for someones regular patronage of gay bars (via location tracking of your phone) to be logged and subject to subpoena. Add in text messages, email, and browser/search history and in the wrong hands that becomes very dangerous information.

  4. Joe, have you read IBM and the Holocaust? I read that sites dramatic description of his novel “Format C:” and I have to say it tapped into every paranoid fiber of my being. Living, as I do, so close to your place of employment ; ) and unless I completely misremember the court docusments I read (and it was a year or more ago so I could misremember) this; “IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler’s Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before–the automation of human destruction.” makes me wonder. I’m 90% sure I remember that the Hollerith machines used in the German railroad were exported from NY. I don’t doubt that it could have been a lot -more- then making the death trains run on time that built IBMs initial capital pool. B u t the tone of some of that website makes me wonder. Worth buying the book?

  5. BoydK,

    Technically, I listened to it on my Zune. But yeah, I “read” it. I really liked the book. I think it contains a lot of information worth knowing.

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