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back to article Eric Schmidt warns Berliners: 'We know where you are'

Eric Schmidt did his best to raise the bar on his harshest critics yesterday, by telling an audience in Berlin that "we know where you are, we know what you like". A week after the US www.consumerwatchdog.org launched a campaign portraying Schmidt as a "privacy pervert", the Google CEO chose an audience in Germany to deliver a …

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Silver badge

Google it

"at Google "We're not all Germans" and couldn't be expected to know the country's own peculiar history."

I would have thought that most people around the world would had heard about what happened by now.

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Made me hungry

Am I the only one that read "Eric Schmidt warns Donuts"

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Grenade

That's it...

...we need a Google does evil icon NOW!

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Unhappy

Been saying the same for ages.

We have Demonic Bill and Evil Steveil; Evil Schmidt, Brin and Page are LONG overdue.

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Pint

Evilgle

take the lower case 'g', colour it red, add 2 horns

Simples!

Schmidt? Schmuck!

Brand Consultancy Fee: 1 pint.

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Pint

A google symbol..

with a couple of swastikas replacing the O's may fit the bill. But I suspect googles lawyers may object.

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required

"A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost.”

Yeah wonderful, no surprises, no initiative, no adventure, nothing new because Google has already told you all about it. Sounds like hell to me.

FOAD Schmidt

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Anonymous Coward

You might suffer it but you don't have to like it

"Google has been struggling to get Germans to embrace its StreetView operation, displaying remarkable incomprehension that a country that has experienced both the Gestapo and the Stasi in living memory might have qualms about anything that smacks of surveillance."

And they delivered and experienced bomber raids in the second world war but still found our monument to Bomber Harris not to their taste.

The Germans may be our last bastion of defence against corporate domination, Rollerball here we come.

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Thumb Up

I was 13 and I wanted a Jaunting Belt, desperately.

From Wikipedia:

All incarnations of the show concerned the emergence of the next stage of human evolution (homo superior) known colloquially as Tomorrow People. Born to human parents, an apparently normal child might at some point between childhood and late adolescence experience a process called "breaking out", when they develop their special abilities. These abilities include psionic powers such as telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation. However, their psychological makeup prevents them from intentionally killing others.

Damn.

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Joke

The Only Way

That Schmidt could have made this less attractive to your average German would have been to don a long leather trenchcoat and add 'Und if you vill not co-operate, ve haf vays of giving you ein... SPECIAL augmentation! Ze Google Reich vill last hundert jahre, tausand jahre, ZEHN TAUSAND JAHRE!!!!'

(You'd think with a name like 'Schmidt', he might have an inkling about why the Germans are so unhappy? Guess not...)

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Jeeez

"a country that has experienced both the Gestapo and the Stasi in living memory"

Been reading up on The Holocaust this week, but I'd forgotten the post-war troubles the East had to deal with until only 20 years ago... :-(

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Silver badge

US Miopia?

"We're not all Germans" and couldn't be expected to know the country's own peculiar history.

Perhaps he should Google for it.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

F**K OFF!

"We can suggest what you should do next, what you care about. Imagine: We know where you are, we know what you like," he said, while promising “A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost.”

One of the greatest thrills in life is finding something unexpected! Quite often I have been browsing in book shops ( harder to find these days! ) and music shops and picked something up, just because the cover was quirky and caught my attention.

Over my 25 odd years in IT I have lost of data through my own stupidity and it caused me to ensure a) I pay more attention next time and b) I may have to re-create or re-obtain things I have lost, often better or improved versions.

I got into my favourite genre of music through a pure accident, a friend's brother was raving about a little known band called Iron Maiden back in 1983, I simply went out and bought an album on a whim never having heard them before and have enjoyed 25 years of the finest music genre there is!

I met my wife through a series of odd "accidents of location", right-place, right-time, having now enjoyed nearly 20 years together I'm glad of it.

My wife hates my music as much as I hate hers, but we have plenty of other shared interests. With Schmitt's wonderful future, we would never have a chance to meet as our "life-maps" would not match!

Accidents often cause things to change, not always for the better, but they almost always change and improve you as a person. Imagine a horrible nightmare where everything in your life is mapped and tracked so you don't have to think much, you never worry about accidents directing you down new avenues or interests.

The universe demands random chance and I refuse to bow down to Google and Schmits nasty little dystopia.

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Thumb Up

That would be...

FOOK off - to match the G**GLE word, I guess.

I agree totally with your sentiments....

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Anonymous Coward

@The Fuzzy Wotnot

You have to wonder what kind of saddo votes down a perfectly reasonable post like yours,

Some Google drone maybe?

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Pint

Well said.

Funny to see us Germans being on the forefront of the resistance

One would think that some of the more liberal and/or freedom loving cultures would offer more of a fight.

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Gold badge

@ITSMeagain

I'm Canadian. I can't speak for the rest of my countrymen, but when it comes to this all pervasive spying, be it from Google or our own governments, I will fight to my dying breath. You will pry my personally hosted servers from my dead, rotting hands.

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Anonymous Coward

We are at war with Eastasia.

We've always been at war with Eurasia.

You know, because Google tells you it is so.

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Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Oh you pretty things

Don't you know you're driving your Mamas and Papas insane?

Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt senior must be hanging their heads in shame.

No black Opel icon...

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Silver badge
Big Brother

The Google Server Farm

....will be hosted at Prinz Albrecht Strasse 8.

Currently there is a large free area just hosting a museum about some wall and administrative operations of some weirdo outfit sporting lots of photos of people in black uniforms. I mean, who is interested in that?

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Terminator

The apotheosis of middle-class consumerism

"You really know where you are. For the first time in history." He quoted the planetary motto. "Community, Identity, Stability." Grand words. "If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved."

Have those ringpieces taken their business strategy directly from Brave New World, or is it just coincidence?

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FAIL

Gestapo/Stasi

This is the first I heard that memories of Gestapo/Stasi could be a reason for being againt StreetView. But other evidence just points at my fellow Germans not getting it. I think, many of the protestors think, it's some kind of live feed or updated every 2 weeks or so. And the main reasons I heard against it, are a) that it's a tool for burglars to check out the neighbourhood beforehand and b) Google is making _money_ from a picture of _my_ house. Misogynistic and paranoid. A group of 4 protestors went to their not so local newspaper to complain about StreetView and did not object to a picture of themselves taken in front of their house and published on the paper's website with their full names and city mentioned. Sheesh. And Germans generally don't care about other more important privacy issues. They will happily use their Payback cards, which is a joint customer loyalty scheme of the major retail chains. Which all belong to the Metro group. So all information about the what, when and where of their purchases lands in the hands of one cooperation. And no major protests against SWIFT (banking information given over to the USA), Schufa (who discriminates against you depending on the neighbourhood you live in when getting a loan or a cell phone contract), ELENA (all your job details and everything from your personnel records given to the state every month) etc. either.

Sorry for the rant. But it's getting me enranged that something as harmless as StreetView has been in the media for weeks, when other things don't get much coverage, because "ah, those are only for terrorists/frauds/pedos, so they don't affect me".

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Black Helicopters

What's Googles target, actually?

"But it's getting me enranged that something as harmless as StreetView"

Then you, dear sir, are an idiot.

Street view is a surveillance tool and it _is_ updated constantly. Combine that to Googles "we know everything about you" -attitude and Google looks much more like Stasi than harmless: Every single bit of data _by itself_ may be harmless but combine them and it's everything but harmless.

Collect enough personal information of someone and you own him. No matter who. And as Schmidt says, it's Googles target: To own you. Just like Stasi.

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Thumb Down

A bit lame of the Germans...

...whose only excuse was that they didn't know.

You can't go and complain that Google feels like the Gestapo when a part of them were Gestapo and the rest was in the army... seriously.

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Flame

@A bit lame of the Germans...

Which particular part would that be? Oh yes, part of the generation now 80s and 90s. Just because someone's great-grandfather was a Nazi then it doesn't mean that they must be too.

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Anonymous Coward

I sense desperation

As I've said before, Google as well as Facebook were riding on the wave of anti-privacy that the Bush-Blair era allowed governments to exercise. The problem is that that trend is now reversing - a normal reaction.

The result is that privacy becomes once again important, but it solidly nukes the business models of Google and Facebook, so they are doing everything they can to hang on to your information.

Well, here's some news. Realise that with Google, your personal information (and even company secrets) are only one programming mistake away from public disclosure. Remember that this is the company that "accidentally" scanned unprotected WiFi and almost got away with it too, so it's not like they have a very clean track record either, hence the desperate clambering to tell us that all is well.

Well, it isn't.

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Headmaster

@Anonymous Cowardess

Misogynistic? How so? Did you mean misanthropic?

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Bronze badge

Not all Germans?

But JFK said we were all Berliners. (Well, donuts, actually, as mister paul points out, but he was trying to say Berliners.)

Perhaps the Anonymous Cowardess meant xenophobic?

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Unhappy

When Top Gear cover Street View you know it's bad news for Google

And a German car programme, fortunately maybe not directly comparable with Top Gear, covered Street View in more depth than Top Gear ever would, a couple of weekends back (VOX's Auto Mobil, fwiw. I like the Auto Doktoren.).

A few days ago, my Google News account asked me for my cellphone number, for "identity verification". A couple of years ago I would have wondered why, and told them it. This time, I wondered why, and decided to reduce my interaction with Google. Bye bye Gmail.

Sorry, but you're only marginally better than Phorm. And you're a whole lot more pervasive, which is not good.

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Anonymous Coward

A small step...

There is such a small step to make from "we know what you like" to "we'll tell you what to like". It doesn't matter if those dictating what you should like - or influencing the recommendations - are politically or just economically motivated. Big Brother by any other name is still Big Brother.

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Anonymous Coward

I remember when

2 guys had a really good search engine. And that was it.

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Happy

Ve know vere you are

As everyvun knows, ze phraze should be said vith a German accent, ja?

The excuse of not knowing the particular German background must be at most 20 years old. I may have been a kid when 'der Mauer' went down, but I still know how bad the Stasi were. It is probably because of that that Germans have pretty good privacy laws over there.

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Unhappy

Google augmented humanity.

I fear this.

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Silver badge

“We can suggest what you should do next..."

And we can suggest what you should do next as well, Mr Schmidt.

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