back to article Google chief: Only miscreants worry about net privacy

If you're concerned about Google retaining your personal data, then you must be doing something you shouldn't be doing. At least that's the word from Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," Schmidt tells CNBC, sparking howls of …

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  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    FAIL

    How original (not)

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

    Who would ever have thought of that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      World's Biggest Cyberstalker?

      "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," said the peeping tom to the fifteen year old girl he'd secretly watched masturbating. [1]

      Is Google the world's biggest cyberstalker?

      [1] Before Schmidt decides to take legal action against me for this comment, let me state the following:-

      This comment is not intended to defame, libel or slander Eric Schmidt. I am not in any way saying, or implying, that Eric Schmidt is the peeping tom mentioned at the start of this comment. The peeping tom character is entirely fictional. The purpose of having that fictional peeping tom use the same words as Schmidt is to indicate how such an argument sounds when it's heard from someone who's regarded as a gross violator of personal privacy. I'm attacking the argument, not Eric Schmidt himself.

      If, despite this clarification, Eric Schmidt would still want to sue me: Google the "Streisand Effect" first, Eric.

    2. Inachu
      Happy

      GLASS HOUSES

      I want to break your glass house.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't wait for the first Google sex scandal to break

    last time I was at Mountain View the ballpits looked very suspicious indeed...

  3. Tony Paulazzo
    Linux

    Openess

    has to be a reciprocal event. If Google and the government want to know everything about me, then I should know everything about them. The problem (for me) isn't about my privacy, it's about their closely guarded secrets.

    Relationships are built on trust, an open and frank exchange of knowledge. Raw climate data, expenses, click ads, SEOs, national security, secrecy, torturing suspects, fostering a culture of fear and suspicion, etc.

    What they (and we all know who 'they' are), want, is a one sided, them calling the shots, position of dominance.

    That's why we (should) fight for our privacy. I'll be nakedly open with you when I trust you.

    And Google, how many Chinese dissidents have you given up to their government when asked, and for what purported crimes?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hmmm...

    So Eric Schmidt writes all of his snail-mail on the back of postcards, I assume? I mean, come on - otherwise he has something to hide, right?

    Idiot.

  5. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Rage overwhelms rational, reasonable, and eloquent response.

    Eric Schmidt, go fuck yourself.

    Normally, I would not even post something like this; it is crass and unsophisticated. I would wait to let the anger subside. But I am not ashamed of myself for thinking it, nor for posting it. And now you can Google it.

    Paris, crass and unsophisticated.

    1. Dave Harris

      Googlewhacked

      The phrase "Eric Schmidt, go fuck yourself" is currently a googlewhack.

      I wonder how long for after he comes out with shite like this.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    When they said "do no evil"...

    ... they meant you.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
      Big Brother

      "do no evil" refers to you

      Always thought that myself whenever that catchprase comes up.

      Not AC, 'cos everybody's got something to hide...

      ... 'cept for my and my monkey...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Information asymmetry

    Schmidt can pull up your entire search history, yet you can't pull up his. It appears to me that the people who say this are always on the best side of information asymmetry.

    You see it with politicians too, they have their car number plates hidden, their emails protected by law, their childrens details withheld from Choicepoint, and presume (mistakenly) that their conversations are protected from warrant less search. When someone starts listing their home details, or their husbands video rentals and they freak. Why did they not protect others privacy???

    The Bernanke thing, he promises he'll tell congress how he's spent *their* bailout money, but then refuses to let them audit the Federal Reserve and starts talking like he's the elected president!... That's the power of information, how much is something worth? It depends on what Bernanke decides its worth, he talks that way, because that's the power that the information asymmetry gives him.

    Then there's the odd police thing, snap some undercover cops in Switzerland and it's an international incident, yet they snap you all the time.

    DNA won't be collected from Parliament, yet they statistically are more likely to match the unsolved crimes, than people who have been arrested and screened and found to be clean. As long as they believe the symmetry favours them,they are happy.

    Only an idiot insults a powerful person's incompetence then expects them to be fair when you deal with them. Ever talked shit to your boss? Was he nice at review time? Of course not!

    Yahoo doesn't want you to know what it charges the police to give them all your emails. You don't have secrets, but they don't want you to know they've kept all this info....

    All cases of people defending the informational asymmetry that gives them the edge, asserting that you must have something to hide if you disagree with THEM knowing that information.

    Me thinks they protest too much. BTW, what is Erics Schmidt's home address?

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Who is your Gauleiter (Gooleiter) now?

    "It's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities"

    He's right. And Google can't tell you if they get an invitation by FBI to do so.

    Obama and Schmidt --- same powergrab.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      The Patriot Act

      Was brought in by that bastion of freedom Dubya Bush.

      (American assistance: the above sentence is meant to be ironic - verging on sarcastic - the only freedom Bush protected was that of Halliburton et al)

      1. Mike Flugennock

        and Barack Obama...

        ...voted to extend the Patriot Act while in the Senate, and he supports its further extension now that he's in the White House -- not to mention trying to suppress lawsuits on behalf of Guantanamo detainees, or trying to suppress the further release of images of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib.

        Y'know, I really wish GWBush would wipe that goddamn' burnt cork off his face.

  9. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Flame

    Google has gone off the trolley for serious now.

    So.

    If hiding means something you're doing something illicit, how come Google isn't publishing open and clear how Adsense works ?

    Why are their search protocols and algorithms burn-before-viewing secrets ?

    Does Mr. Schmidt live in a glass house allowing anyone and everyone film him at any time ?

    No ? Really not ? Seriously not ?

    Then I call "Pot Kettle Black" on him.

    If Google so believes that hiding is bad, maybe THEY should start being more transparent first.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    WTF?

    To summarize: "I'm right and almost everybody else in the world is wrong. Anybody who disagrees with me is a subversive and a criminal."

    Yes, Eric. That's nice. And if you could just put this jacket on. No that's the wrong way round. Yes, the sleeves are supposed to look like that. This is your room, the walls do look funny don't they. Now this is just a little injection and it won't hurt a bit...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It occurs to me...

    ...that I've never seen Steve Balmer and Eric Schmidt in the same room at the same time.

    Even Paris has more idea about what makes good PR.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worrying

    It's a little unsettling when corporate bullshit, which usually has its own distinctive aroma, starts to smell like Government bullshit instead.

  13. Conor Turton
    FAIL

    Anyone told Google that the Patriot Act...

    "we must remember that in the United States, we are all subject to the Patriot Act"

    I'm not in the USA. The Patriot Act has no meaning, relevence or ruling over me. Surely a company such as Google should be aware that they're accessible worldwide?

  14. JC 2
    Unhappy

    Starting To Stray From Do No Evil

    What would you expect to be the company line when they are really only in it for themselves? At least they're being honest about it now.

    1. R Callan
      Thumb Down

      Not only am I not in the US

      but I presume that Gooooooogle is conforming to The Privacy Act 1993. After all, we are all obliged to obey the "law", ignorance is no excuse. Herr Gauleiter Schmidt can find it with his own search engine to find the act.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unless you live in the UK

      In which case the USA will have you deported for any reason they desire and the UK government (y'know, the one that is supposed to protect you) will do fuck all to help.

      So if you live in the UK you are effectively subject to the Patriot Act.

  15. asdf Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    government sucks but google needs an antitrust smack down

    One of the first signs of a market abusing monopoly is arrogance such as this (the whole nobody can touch us attitude and we know better than you). Ask Bill Gates how far that attitude will take you when you piss off (don't give enough campaign hush money) the wrong person. Schmidt probably just cost his company big time and better learn to keep his inflatable hockey rink affording ass shut.

  16. Kanhef
    Boffin

    Interesting argument

    I have yet to see a good response to the 'if you want to hide it, you probably shouldn't do it' philosophical argument. Does anyone have a counter-argument?

  17. Avian
    FAIL

    Hope.....

    this turns out to be a "Ratner" moment, I doubt it will but there's always the hope.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have an idea

    You could force a new IP address onto each connection each night (like the Germans do, they drop the connection at about 2am and assign a new one from the pool). The ISP that does this keeps the IP logs for 3 months.

    If you want to know who had what IP address at any time, you have to go file your demand in Germany in accordance with German law where the ISP is. Which makes sense since they're Germans and can vote for German laws, not US ones (like Patriot).

    1. Matthew Barker

      An obvious one...

      You could reply with something like this:

      Why don't you (Eric Schmidt) plumb your toilet into the middle of your front lawn. Or perhaps your marital bed. Or perhaps use only a speaker phone attached to a PA system on your house, on your car, and on the outside of the Google building where you work.

      And what about your doctor doing a physical. It should also be done on in the front lawn...etc.

      1. Maty

        exactly

        There's a difference between not wanting anyone to know and not wanting everyone to know.

        And I signed in with my gmail address ... oh, the irony!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry?

      You don't need a counter argument. It's already a counter argument. The argument is Google don't own that data, they haven't told users they're collecting that data and they have no right to that data. It's Schidt's schtick that's the counter argument and it's a very, very weak on indeed. He hasn't even begun to explain how it's his right to collect that data. Patriotic duty? Fuck that mate. US citizens may fall for that patriot crap, but in the free world things are a little different.

      If Google really believe Schidt's bull they would make it a clear opt in service. It isn't opt in, hell it isn't even easy to opt out. Let's be fair you can only opt out if you know what you're doing with cookies and the like. There is no official opt out. And people think Phorm were bastards?

      The only conclusion I can draw is that Google know what they are doing is wrong. And that Schidt's words sound like the desperate excuses of a man who knows he's in the wrong.

      As to the idea that shaping your search results will help you, that's crap. Google algorithms are already so heavily influenced by commerce that most of the time I find them no better than the post office clerk trying to sell me broadband and insurance when what I want is to post a parcel. You have to wade through lines, if not pages of partial matches before you find the page which contains an exact match for the phrase you types. Even if your phrase is the header of a particular page that doesn't stop Google sticking it on page three of your results because they *know* that isn't what you were really looking for. Guess what Google - that's what I typed so that's exactly what I was looking for. Shaping your results based on your browsing history will only give them another excuse to weight their results even more in favour of advertisers.

      And if you're so sure that you believe in the "nothing" to hide argument, Kanhef, publish your unabridged surfing history for the last few years so we can all have a read.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      counter-argument

      You might want to try "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy" by Daniel J. Solove at the George Washington University Law School. He seems to have several.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      @Kanhef

      "I have yet to see a good response to the 'if you want to hide it, you probably shouldn't do it' philosophical argument. Does anyone have a counter-argument?"

      Here you are looking at it all wrong... It should be "If you are willing to let people look - you are probably not doing any thing illegal". The counter argument - "if you want to hide it, you probably shouldn't do it" - is nonsense. The reality is if you want to hide it - it might mean that you just want to be left alone.

    5. Mycho Silver badge

      Here's your counter-argument

      The law of averages states that there is almost certainly a member of Al-Quaeda, the Russian Mafia or a peadophile working somewhere at Google. Do you want to give them free access to all your personal details, your daughter's emails, when your house will be empty etcetc?

    6. Shannon Jacobs
      Coat

      Argument against

      Posted after your query, but the short form is that sufficient knowledge about you can be turned against you. My long post is below you, but I'll add one more wrinkle I didn't mention there: With sufficient knowledge about you I can frame you even if you are Caesar's wife. (Icon for planting evidence in your coat after finding out where you tend to leave it.)

    7. Count Ludwig
      Big Brother

      if you have nothing to hide...

      ...then why do you have curtains in your bedroom?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for asking..

      How about,

      I'm a free man and what I'm doing is none of your business.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Any old title

      I'm a scambaiter, and certainly not ashamed of it. For safety reasons, I don't use my real life email address for the purpose.

      yes I do have something to hide, but no because I'm doing something wrong.

    10. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      here's one counter-argument

      I like to wank off into a sock whilst watching autopsies.

      Did you want to know that? No? Perhaps I shouldn't have said it, after all, it's private.

      It's also a lie, did I want you to know that? No, so why did I say it?

      BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.

      <knock-knock> hmm, someone at the door, be right ba..

      Sometimes people like to keep things hidden because they are embarrassing, or perhaps certain information in certain hands would be compromising as they would use it to disciminate against you. There is nothing illegal about wanting your privacy, so why insinuate that there is? Sounds like a straw-man argument to me.

    11. Claus P. Nielsen
      Boffin

      If you truly have nothing to hide you are probably dead.

      Anything of any worth to you is worth protecting.

      If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing of any worth.

      Since most of us are not all powerful, we can not defend our possessions (or even our lives) against all and any people who might want to take it away from us.

      So we hide it.

      If you think you have nothing to hide you are stupid and will soon have much less to hide since somebody will steal what you have.

      P.S.

      The "nothing to hide" argument can be interpreted as racist, since it implies that any victim of persecution - such as the Jews during the Nazi regime - must per definition be guilty of something. Why else would they be hiding from the authorities?

    12. Annihilator
      Boffin

      A fair question

      For now we'll assume we live in the same wonderful USA where this Schmidt bell-end lives. Take a look at (not least) the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and to an extent 9th amendment in the constitution this United States governement is sworn to uphold... or so we're told. America! (we love you) (with apologies to Slim)

      In the UK, there's again no specific law, but a multitude: http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights/privacy/index.html

    13. James Thomas

      Why don't you show us your porn Eric?

      There is also the problem that society at large often has a peculiar distaste for many things that aren't 'normal', particularly in the bedroom and particularly in America.

      Given the persecution people get for things like homosexuality this sort of privacy is a necessary human right.

    14. Jimmy 1

      Proud to be a miscreant.

      This is not a philosophical argument; it's a slogan and therefore does not need to be countered, just ridiculed for its inane stupidity. See uk.gov for similar content.

    15. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Oh that's easy

      At election time, why am I allowed a secret ballot?

    16. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Utter bollocks

      "I have yet to see a good response to the 'if you want to hide it, you probably shouldn't do it' philosophical argument. Does anyone have a counter-argument?"

      I have to pay my bills and I don't want others to see what companies I'm using or how much. Economic transactions render this argument obsolete.

      Schmidt isn't telling how much he's paid,either, so the argument is false even for himself (for anybody, everyone has something to hide).

  19. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    ALL YOUR DATA...

    ... ARE BELONG TO US!

  20. Paul RND*1000
    Big Brother

    Things you shouldn't be doing?

    "If you're concerned about Google retaining your personal data, then you must be doing something you shouldn't be doing."

    Yes, I am concerned about Google retaining my personal data.

    Yes, I'm doing something I should not be doing.

    I'm using services provided by Google. Which clearly I should not be doing. I should stop right away. You should, too.

    Unfortunately everyone offering alternative services must be assumed to be equally evil, though at least they're not being self-righteous pricks about it while desperately pretending to absolutely not be evil.

  21. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Sauce for goose = sauce for gander

    OK Google. You have my data.

    Can I have yours?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First they came for the communists...

    Everyone has something they don't want someone to know... except me of course, so I don't have to worry!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seems to me..

      you're not gonna do too well with that negotiatiing technique.

  23. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Easy answer, and I told you so..

    I would like Mr Schmidt to tell me exactly how much he earns, and what he spends it on. And what his kids do with their money. And which position him and his wife prefer in bed.

    No? Why? Nothing to hide? QED, thus.

    Funny that it was only yesterday that I had so many people tell me I was paranoid about Google. Did it really take a senior pr*ck to pull a Ratners to open your eyes? Well, I'm glad it did at least happen in the end.

    Just think before you make ANY, repeat, ANY information available to the Net, as that has no "undo" button.

  24. Shannon Jacobs
    Welcome

    Google went evil or stupid

    The argument that Google has gone evil is just that the rules of capitalism are now set up so that every company is basically forced in that direction. Otherwise the shareholders get to sue you for insufficient greed.

    The argument that Google has gone stupid is that it does NOT matter at all what you are doing. The point is that knowledge is power, and sufficient personal knowledge is power over the person. Even if you are purer than Caesar's wife, with enough personal knowledge you can be twisted or even flipped. Maybe you've never done anything wrong, but surely you have some weakness that could be tempted, if I only knew what it was. Heck, even if you have no weakness, with sufficient knowledge of your strengths I bet I could find some way to exploit at least one of your own strengths AGAINST you. No one is perfect, and anyone can be cracked. It's just a matter of resources--and especially the resource that is knowledge of the person. (No, I can't buy any claim of naivete in this case, even Google-sized naivete.)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Eric E. Schmidt

    366 Walsh Rd

    Atherton, CA 94027

    He's right, things do tend to stick around...

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Grenade

    Schmidt does his you dirty US Ratner impression ........ and Dumps in the Cuckoo's Nest ....

    .... which is real dumb and costly for a CEO and company . Just ask Gerald?

    Er..... It may be the case that sharing one's action with a third party [Google passing on information it has gleaned about your interests/purchases etc] is effectively an abuse of copyright in exactly the same way that it is argued and decided as a breach and liable to ridiculously excessive damages in the Tenenbaum/RIAA case ..... http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/piracy-verdict-finalized/ ..... for it is exactly the same sort of file-sharing exercise. Therefore is Google breaking the law in every case.

    And if that is not to be the case, then is the Tenenbaum/RIAA Piracy case .... and all similar cases, with the Pirate Bay and Napster persecutions I suppose also valid inclusives in the motion .... a blatant miscarriage of justice, and a perversion of the course of justice in that the law is not applied to all equally and impartially?

    "Hope.....this turns out to be a "Ratner" moment, I doubt it will but there's always the hope." ... Avian Posted Monday 7th December 2009 23:11 GMT.

    Avian, everything and anything springing Eternal inevitably eventually has its moment of glory/fifteen minutes of fame.

  27. jim 45
    Alert

    I guess today is the day...

    .. . that I start thinking seriously about alternatives to Google.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    A day doesn't go by

    ... (or so it seems) that doesnt cough up another reason to avoid Google altogether.

    And to think, only a few years ago I was a fanboi.

    To hell with them.

  29. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    FAIL

    Bing Bong

    I just set my default search page to Bing. Actually I'm enjoying it. The results it returns for searches are different, but in my opinion no less relevant than google. It's just a slightly different 'flavour'. It's actually quite refreshing.

    Fuck you google. I'm done with you. I only used you for reading Usenet anyway. I'll find another way now.

  30. Beanzy
    Thumb Down

    Hilarious

    I have everything about me I don't want people to know. That's my default position. But I've nothing to hide either, as I've never done anything wrong.

    Has this intellectual pigmy not got the nous to realise that people may choose to share with those they trust, but people like him and companies like Google need to work hard to gain that trust?. My info is worth money to loads of people and just like money I don't go giving it away to those I don't trust. Sure he's p/o'd because we won't make him inforrmation rich on our data coinage, Well he's got to earn it. This latest outburst is not going to do anything to engender that trust.

    These guys are just the subway buskers of the IT world. If he wants my data coins he better change his tune and sing a bit more sweetly.

    1. blackworx
      Black Helicopters

      Street View

      Interesting how there seems to be a dark green Range Rover following the Streetview car around that part of town, appearing most frequently in the vicinity of (you guessed it) 366 Walsh Road.

    2. Paul 8
      Black Helicopters

      https://ssl.scroogle.org/

      Can't be set as default search provider in a browser though.

      1. Chronos Silver badge
        Boffin

        ORLY?

        http://mycroft.mozdev.org/ look for scroogle ssl, install it and delete the rest. My custom build of Shiretoko has this by default, without the rest of the dross that comes with Fx. You'll also be wanting to disable "safe" browsing and geolocation to stop that reporting back to the mothership, too. There's also a search plugin for IE/Camino on there that works with IE8.

        Rocket science it ain't.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Scroogle

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search?q=scroogle

        Thanks Paul8 for reminding me, and yes you can make it the default, as I just did :)

      3. Gabor Laszlo

        Actually, it can

        Read the fine print at the bottom of scroogle.org:

        http://mycroft.mozdev.org/search-engines.html?name=scroogle

      4. 2FishInATank
        Thumb Up

        Scroogle....

        https://ssl.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbwssl.cgi?Gw=%s

        Works in Opera, Chrome and Firefox.....

        1. Mr Mrr

          Scroogle?

          Err... what does Scroogle use as a search engine, 2FishInATank, that's interesting... Any common dress with scroogle.com?

          1. 2FishInATank

            @Mr Mrr

            It's a SCRaper for gOOGLE, geddit? ;)

            The good bits of Google's search engine without the more disturbing periphery.....

            http://www.scroogle.org/donatesc.html

            I'm almost 100% certain that scroogle.com is unrelated with the .org....whether the dress is common, slutty or not in evidence whatsoever!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Now there's a surprise

      Google Streetview only goes as far as the bottom of his drive...

      Why the big bollards preventing them getting any further? Surely he hasn't anything to _hide_, has he?

    4. Doug Glass
      Go

      Spot On

      Having worked in the more rarified atmosphere of the corporate world for well over thirty years, I can say without reservation you are exactly correct. And that you have a rather good understanding of how the corporate wheels grind.

    5. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      No copyright issue, sorry

      "It may be the case that sharing one's action with a third party [Google passing on information it has gleaned about your interests/purchases etc] is effectively an abuse of copyright in exactly the same way that it is argued and decided as a breach and liable to ridiculously excessive damages in the Tenenbaum/RIAA case"

      Nope, forget it. The only potential saving grace for your private data is that you cannot sign away your rights implicitly (i.e. included as part of another agreement), this has to be done EXplicitly (so with a separate signature or approval process for your privacy rights). On that point, Google has a problem, but it took this Ratners action from Schmidt for people to start looking.

      But for everything else, there is clause 11 of their Terms of Service..

  31. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Down

    Are they even trying to hide their true intentions anymore?

    Seems to me there is at least one article a day where someone from Google - mostly those at the top - make themselves out to be more insidious than, more omnipresent than, more self-important than Big Brother.

    The best part about this whole deal is that when Google finally comes crashing down - and they will, soon - it will be the most spectacular (and dirty) meltdown the world's ever seen.

    I'll advocate it: someone needs to hack Google like they hacked CRU. You can bet that would take down more people than just a bunch of pompous climate "scientists."

  32. Andy 70

    time to drop the "G man" and find something else

    seriously, that has to be the worst response in the world.

    hey, Mr Eric Schmidt , of 366 Walsh Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

    can i look at your internet history please? and your credit card cookies?hey, and your email while you're at it.

    why? oh no reason, but then you've got nothing to hide right?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Said it before

    I have nothing to hide, but I shall be wearing trousers

  34. redbook

    Only for those with something to hide..

    "Lucky" Firefox users can always try the TrackMeNot add-in, add-on, extension or whatever Mozilla are calling them this week.

  35. Tristan Young
    FAIL

    Google and Privacy

    Well that comment by Eric Schmidt just cost Google a shit-load of trust.

    Google has slowly been eroding users privacy and trust. Pretty soon, we'll have no privacy, unless it's Google Privacy - the type that assumes anyone who uses Google's service have nothing to hide, and everyone else must be knee-deep in illegal acts, scheming, evil plotting, and looking at pictures of naked mole rats.

    It's official: Google is the new Microsoft. That makes me sick.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't use it

    There are plenty of things that a person might search for that wouldn't be criminal, but they wouldn't necessarily want anyone to find out about. For example, let's say some one searched for a medical disorder, or some sort of mental problem, or something that could identify them as gay/bi/transsexual. Such things certainly aren't illegal or even immoral but it could result in a great deal of embarrassment for the individual concerned if there were a way to link such searches to a certain user. I've found that people, companies, and governments ONLY tell you not to worry about your data when they're already doing something nefarious with it.

    Most sites try to set tracking cookies, use a browser like Opera that lets you blacklist cookies from certain sites, and most importantly, don't use fucking Google.

    1. M Gale
      Grenade

      Not quite.

      You can tell Google to off fuck (reverse polish notation), and still use the rest of the Internet the same way. Oh, and still use all the same software you've no doubt paid good money for. Try doing that with Windows.

      But yes. Google's top brass can go bugger themselves with pogo sticks after statements like that. I know they do automated data mining to provide targeted advertisements and whatnot, but when the boss talks like privacy is a privilege then there is something very wrong happening at that company.

      TrackMeNot: Enabled. Why try and go under the radar when you can obliterate it under a hailstorm of shit?

  37. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    IXQuick

    Instead of Google, or even Bing, why not try IX Quick

    ixquick.com

    They claim not to record your IP address. Maybe its true.

    Anyone any further info on this site?

  38. Number6

    Follow the Money

    Whether or not I've got anything to hide or fear, there's money to be made from my data and that's where Google seem to come in. I consider that my data is worth more than the service his company provides, so I'm happy to obfuscate the data and seed it with fake stuff.

    Perhaps what we need is a small program that will search for a random set of words on Google at intervals, thus poisoning their record with irrelevant stuff. Make it fake the behaviour of your usual browser and they then have to do more work to pull out anything useful.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Kite flying

    Back in 1987 Eric and I shared a peddle boat on the canals of Amsterdam. The highpoint of the day as assembling a floating pontoon of some 30 boats in one of the larger in land harbours. And then there were the kites; we we given these to fly. Unfortunately, most of them got tangled in the rigging of the various yachts berthed nearby.

    Hey Eric, you never return my emails!

  40. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Just because you're paranoid...

    I blocked Google's cookies years ago but when I put localhost addresses for adwords and analytics servers in /etc/hosts a while back I thought maybe I was being a little paranoid. Unfortunately it turns out I wasn't.

    But I'm sure they've worked out a way of tracking the likes of me too, my data is probably flagged for being a probable miscreant.

    We need a logo of Eric Schmidt with horns.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ixquick

      Why would they lie? Not as if they are big Grooglewatch.

      Excellent consolidated results from their meta search-engine and an encrypted SSL connection from: https://ixquick.com/do/metasearch.pl

      No sign of delusional chief exec so far. What's not to like?

    2. M Gale

      Step 1: Download Firefox

      ..then, as other people have mentioned here, get thyself a copy of the TrackMeNot extension. It does exactly what you've just described. Also works on other search engines too.

      It can be amusing to look in the status bar to see what TMN is searching for. "Eventually receive some", currently.

  41. Annakan

    This guy like most "edulcored" totalitarian oriented would be doo-gooders..

    Forgot that the basis of democracy founded by Greek a few thousand years ago was what we call now the presumption of innocence and the necessity of the the accusation to bring proofs and solid ones recognizable by other citizens to prosecute.

    But anyhow the thing is what he calls good is what serves him, the question is would he do what he think is good when his business money is on the line ? We know the answer.

    And maybe that Chinese democracy activists are "doing bad" when google rats on them ?

    And as was said before me, let's have full access to Google data FULL access and have some fun with the nasty secrets THEY have, let's start with Eric smith FULL account, I am sure we'll love how good he is.

    Another proof we CAN'T and SHALL not trust corporation and build political failsafe and cross examination in every aspect of our society, accountability and responsibility.

    I hate this guy.

    And I don't use its services, I'm glad I don't

  42. Davros
    FAIL

    unbelievable

    I found several other reputable sites carrying this quote or I wouldn't have believed it. How can someone running such a successful company say something so stupid?

    Counterexample # 55: my search history may reveal my health concerns - if my medical situation isn't private, what is? But nothing criminal.

  43. Bumbling Fool

    Something to hide or to protect?

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,"

    This kind of pernicious thinking that equates privacy with 'something to hide' is something that must be attacked - and vigorously. Even the use of the word 'hide' is loaded in this context.

    Yes I do have something to protect - that's my privacy and dignity, and that of my family.

    The flaw in the logic of people like this Schmidt character is that wishing to preserve and protect these things is equivalent to wishing to hide something illicit or wrongful.

    Does my Aunt Mabel really want ANYONE to know that she smears haemorrhoid cream on her nether regions every day? I don't have an Aunt Mabel, but hopefully the point is made.

    Preserving and protecting the dignity and privacy of individuals is not the same as trying to hide something. Let Schmidt put his money where his mouth is and install webcams in every room in his house. Let ANYONE see what he and his family are doing.

    After all - he's got nothing to 'hide' has he?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    More reason to do this about it

    We have wonderful technology that easily can and increasingly is used to make people serve, not to serve people. We also have large amounts of people with enough background knowledge and programming skills to get cracking at turning the tide. This will have to be grassroots, then grow big enough to force governments to start opting in and offer the service.

    I'm talking about a way to keep and handle sensitive data, including identity information, reasonably safe and secure, and with tight user-controlled privacy controls. Zero knowledge proofs, crypto, what-have-you, but with clearly defined use cases and thus hopefully much easier to use than what we have now.

    Discuss. If enough are interested, I'll setup a contact point soonish.

  45. Scott Millar
    WTF?

    Google 2.0

    we need another google - one with morals - you know what googles company moto is "don't be evil"

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "off the record" IM?

    This is the same GOvernment OGLE that defaults employee IMs to "off the record"? Wonder what they have to hide.

  47. ElFatbob
    Thumb Down

    You Can Trust Us....

    .....because we say we'll do no evil..... and if you don't trust us with your data, you must be a terrorist / paedo / murderer*.

    One word for this man...

    COCK.

    * Insert appropriate deviant as required

  48. Andy 97
    WTF?

    Utter cobblrs!

    That's the attitude that brought Stalin's secret service so much power.

    What an utter c*nt!

    1. Andus McCoatover
      Happy

      Something to hide or to protect?

      Absolutely perfectly put!

      10 points for that. You're not such a 'Bumbling Fool' after all!

  49. william henderson 1
    Unhappy

    what

    an arsehole

  50. Gordon is not a Moron
    Pirate

    You've got to wonder...

    if has Eric Schmidt been having lunch with Kent Ertugrul recently. As the latest guff sounds alot like Kent's 'Privacy Pirates' rant.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hee heee...

    ...for years I been saying the do no evil is marketing bullshit, and no people are finally seeing it....

    I'd rather they said

    "Google. We'll provide free serivces, but in return we want to sell everything we know about you, but at least we're honest."

  52. Ben 50

    Privacy is some protection from THEIR wrongdoing

    simple.

  53. SuperTim

    What a retard!

    I have plenty of secrets i dont want google to know.

    My bank details

    My PIN number

    My preference of cheese*

    My portrait

    My fingerprints

    None of these are particularly subversive or unusual, but they are NOBODY ELSE'S F*CKING BUSINESS!

    * I could tell anyone my preference of cheese, but I decide who, not the megalomaniacs at google!

  54. umacf24

    You'd think he could afford an inside toilet...

    If it really is 366 Walsh...

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=366+Walsh+Rd,+Atherton,+CA+94027&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=366+Walsh+Rd,+Atherton,+San+Mateo,+California+94027,+United+States&gl=uk&ei=3BIeS76SCof44Abh5fXiCg&ved=0CAoQ8gEwAA&ll=37.43476,-122.218864&spn=0,359.997599&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=37.433454,-122.218962&panoid=ddg1TRgMjdBi5HaRxjVENA&cbp=12,9.95,,0,18.88

  55. Anonymous Cowherd 3

    Surely the ideal response to this

    Is for paparazzi to hound him over every little detail of his life until he complains about lack of privacy and then publically laugh at him.

    What could be more apt?

  56. lukewarmdog
    Badgers

    Oogle

    I only use it to read the news and I guess I can do that elsewhere.

    I don't think a search and advertising company should be telling me what I shouldn't be doing, especially when they have been the vehicle allowing me to do it (whatever that is).

  57. Antoinette Lacroix

    Why not

    use a search page that collects information from other search engines, like ie Dogpile ?

  58. clarinette02
    Megaphone

    Eric Schmidt on privacy few months ago

    Dr Eric Schmidt is very clever and wise. Has he changed his mind?

    In July 2009, few months ago, he was wise enough to declare:

    Eric Shmidt Interview Juky 2009: "I don't think anyone wants everything revealed. That's why we have doors and shades and so forth. "

    "behavior of PPL online when theyR teenagers isn't D sortofthing Dat theywant2know when Dey Rmature adults in leadership positions"

    "...I have a specific suggestion that it should be common & legal to change Your name at 21 and say, "That wasn't me. It was a different person"

    "I'm very strongly in favor of an individuals right of privacy but I'm very suspicious about Governments ..."

    "...our Company makes a commitment to people to respect people's privacy and their personal information because it's central to the trust ..."

    Read the entire interview transcript of Eric Schmidt for Marketplace in July 2009 http://bit.ly/EN1PB

    Dan Solove: "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy" http://bit.ly/NtYuE answers E Schmidt

  59. Pantelis
    WTF?

    Taking the piss

    This is taken directly from the blog of Sarah Hunter, UK Policy Manager for Google:

    "We fiercely protect the privacy of our users across the world and do not believe that fear of illegal activity somewhere on the Internet is enough to justify intrusion of activity everywhere on the Internet."

    She is talking about the clause 17 if the proposed Digital Economy Bill and states the following:

    "While we remain unsure of how this Clause 17 is intended to be implemented, we fear it could require the Government to start gathering more information about users Internet habits, even when no illegal practices have taken place."

    You would think that they are from two different companies?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Arrange some paparazzis ....

      "Is for paparazzi to hound him over every little detail of his life until he complains about lack of privacy and then publically laugh at him."

      If I had more money I could promise 1 grand for every picture of Eric-boy or his family in their home.

      That's enough to arrange a 24/7 watch for our friend in Google, as long I have the money to buy those pictures, practically forever. Fully legal, also.

      "No privacy allowed"-policy works both ways.

  60. Ian Halstead
    Grenade

    Dear Eric...

    Knowledge is power. Power to obfuscate. Power to target. Power to subvert. And all of it to my data. This power means a loss of control on our part Eric. You should only give control to those you trust. Why are you bent on destroying any last vestiges of that trust?

    Imagine wearing a special headset Eric. One that targets, obfuscates and subverts every conversation you have.

    One that boost the audio level of certain target words, leaving others inaudible.

    One that leaves out some entire phrases, whilst boosting others.

    One that substitutes some words for others.

    One that talks to others' headsets and mutually alters their behaviour further.

    One that does this without the wearer really knowing how or why.

    Are we getting there yet Eric? Has the penny dropped? Or just your guard?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Eric Schmidt, can I...

    Eric Schmidt, can I...

    ...see you naked?

    ...watch you have sex?

    ...read your entire medical history?

    ...how about seeing your children naked?

    I thought not. Therefore it is clear that you don't truly believe that personal privacy doesn't have a place in this world.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Either one of the two :

    A : Mr. Schmidt doesn't believe that himself, hence he is dishonest, and has an agenda that cannot see daylight

    B: Mr Schmidt DOES beleve that himself, in which case he is criminally insane or criminally stupid.

    In both cases, the people should be protected from Mr. Schmidt, who needs to be either incarcerated or committed at the earliest possible convenience. The man is a danger to society.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    clearly

    Schmidt = prat

    anon though I have nothing to hide, except from google

  64. Dave Murray

    Only the truely Evil...

    tell you their moto is "do no evil".

    Comments really need an evil G logo.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another day...

    ...another reason to distrust and even hate, the monolith.

    To hell with Google and all their crap!

  66. Neal 5

    Doesn't it all come down to

    Who watches the watchers?

  67. Doug Glass
    FAIL

    Targets

    If there ever was an idiot who painted a target on his chest, this pimply-face goon is it.

    All Firefox users should at least consider using the TrackMeNot add-on if for no other reason than as a reaction to this self righteous corporate slut.

  68. Doug Glass
    Go

    TrackMeNot !!!

    http://mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/trackmenot/

    Check it out. I've got it running on all my FF installations both real and virtual.

  69. Mr Jolly
    Thumb Down

    If you've nothing to hide, you've got...

    Wait....

    The vast majority of people have curtains or blinds at their windows they pull at night so they can't be spied on.

    The vast majority of these people have nothing to hide nor fear. They just expect some privacy.

    Same principle Eric, now go fuck yourself.

  70. SynnerCal
    WTF?

    To be expected

    Like I said, this was to be expected on so many levels.

    Firstly, remember that Google pimps your data - okay they may not _actually_ sell the data itself to advertisers, but they're making the connection between you (and I'm pretty sure that they've got some way to figure out that it is you doing X) and advertisers to push said advertisers products - and in the process make some money. In which case, _your_ data is their 'product' so you'd hardly expect him to want to 'poison the well'.

    Secondly, as the article clearly pointed out we have the usual fallback of the rich and powerful - "here's a rule for you proles, which doesn't apply to me". So Google can share your data, but the data of the star chamber at Google is kept secret.

    How to object? Well complaining to the politicians (especially in the US) would be a total waste of time. In which case the only recourse surely is to try and avoid Google as much as possible - unfortunately though they're so deeply embedded that I would have thought that it'd be quite difficult to avoid them completely.

    Maybe there's a nice idea for a The Register how-to article - "How to De-Googlize your life"?

  71. The BigYin
    Flame

    What a fucking tool

    If I start looking up (say) STDs I have nothing to hide; but it's still private.

    If I look up divorce law, there's nothing to hide it's just private.

    etc.

    Privacy != criminal activity

    "Do no evil"? Really? Could have fooled me.

    Thank goodness for TrackMeNot, AdBlock, CookieCuller and NoScript.

    Did you know: it only takes 3 pieces of data to uniquely identity an individual in the USA? So much for anonymity.

    1. SpoodyGoon
      Thumb Up

      Extra points for Discworld reference

      Extra points for Discworld reference, everybody know it's Sam Vimes that watches the watchers.

  72. Tony S
    Big Brother

    Power corrupts;

    ... absolute power corrupts absolutely

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/288200.html

    There are numerous examples of this throughout history. It happens over and over and over and over......

    A latest example would be the expenses scandal at the house of commons - they set the rules, they abuse the rules. When people justifiably query the level of abuse, they argue that it was "within the rules" - they rules that they set and change as they like.

    Protect your right to privacy - you'll miss it when it's gone

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logic test

    According to Eric Schmidt, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place"

    OK Eric, you first. Can we have live video feeds from your bathroom? After all, if you're doing anything in there that you don't want anyone else to see, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place?

    As for myself, although I'm sure everything that takes place in my bathroom is no different than any other, I really like my privacy. I deeply suspect the motives of a person who claims I shouldn't. Privacy does not equate to criminality.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Us and them

    Wow I hadn't realised just what a knob Eric is.

    So there you have it folks, privacy: it's alright when Eric Schmidt has it but if you want some you must be doing something wrong.

    A bit like our governments ContactPoint database really: "A big risk to childrens privacy but who cares, MPs are allowed to opt out. Oh what's that? Your child needs privacy too? Shut up prole"

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    One word...

    Twat

  76. Scrat
    Paris Hilton

    Where will it end...?

    First your 'logged in' search results,then emails followed quickly by documents and the calendar of your life.

    Now the m'fers want your DNS lookups, all your web searches and to top it off, your voice mails.

    I boycotted my day to day use of Google multiple months ago and went to what used to be the Sith Lord's empire - however the MS today seems to be a much tamer beast than yesteryear - and I'm really liking Bing.

    Screw Google and screw the horse they rode in on.

    /Paris because Schmidt's about as clueless as she is.

  77. OldDogNewWalk
    FAIL

    That does it for me.

    I never really had much of a relarionship withh the big G, but...

    Google is no longer on my search engine list.

    My Gmail account has been abandoned.

    Ho hum... On with my life

  78. Harry the snot gobbler
    WTF?

    Hang on ....

    I wouldn't mind someone rifling through photos of the 2005 works christmas do, what I have on my computer would be totally uninteresting to anyone.

    I'm sick of all this wailing and bleating about privacy, it's one big over-reaction. If you own a credit card their file tracking what and where you buy doesn't attract this kind of attention. You have been tracked all your life through the education system, cctv cameras, your workplace, national insurance number, car registration, mobile phone company and now you complain the internet is doing it?

    Grow up world and get on with your lives, they're not after your bank account so Mr google can spend the paltry savings you've scraped together or nick your fingerprints so he can commit crimes in your name. If you don't like it use another search provider. Simple as that. It's not like you're being forced to use google.

  79. Maurice Shakeshaft

    I have nothing to hide but I do want my privacy.

    The two things are not the same and the man is being disingenuous if he doesn't see the difference.

    Unless, of course, he is saying that once you've used his companies service then your interests are his companies for sale and that this is an embedded assumption in both the Google business model and in the Google terms and conditions of service.

    The truth of the matter is that he is not being disingenuous and does believe that users info on his service is his to use as he wishes. He just doesn't see this as wrong. He wont use it "wrongly" and if there is nothing "wrong" in it then it should be quite acceptable for it to be used. Never mind abuse of privilege - you don't have any.

    He and his ilk are just the same sort of imperialist evangelists who thought it acceptable to ride on the back of explorers and pillage nations in earlier years. It seems they either don't care or don't recognise that other people might not be as appreciative as they would want them to be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Way to totally miss the point...

      Google hoarding data about your is one thing (which I'm concerned about), but they are actively modifying search results based on your previous search history - regardless of if you are logged in to a google service or not.

      Now imagine that you've got an STD or you are in financial trouble, or something similarly private - do you want anyone using the machine on which you've searched for advice to have their results changed because of your activity?

    2. Bumbling Fool

      We are hanging on - just

      " . . . . wailing and bleating about privacy" ??

      You're missing the point. Privacy is fundamental to a free society. Who do you turn to when you're rejected behind the scenes by your next prospective employer because you happen to be homosexual, or black, or Muslim, or have a subscription to The New Statesman - or whatever it is that they don't like about you? If everyone could be trusted to use your data repsonsibly, or think about it IN THE WAY THAT YOU DO - then maybe we can stop worrying.

      However, suppose the government decided that having a sexual fetish - maybe you like people in wellies, or maybe you've got a thing for a little bit of bondage, whatever - if they decided that this makes you an inappropriate person to, say, have any kind of contact with kids, then what do you do if your entire career is centred around education, for example?

      There's nothing wrong with most fetishes - but most people wouldn't want their sexual proclivities bandied about, erm how shall I put it? . . . . willy nilly.

      It's about who gets to define, and ultimately control, what is acceptable. If you have the view that only certainly narrowly-defined behaviours and attitudes are acceptable then, if you're in a position of power, you can take steps to ensure that only acceptable people are given the opportunities on offer.

      In extreme cases this can include the opportunity to carry on living.

      If we all accept some kind of intrusive global monitoring infrastructure how long will it be before this is put to an unacceptable use by some government or organisation? Are you willing to trust that much? You really think the shower of shites who fiddled their expenses, claiming it was within the rules, or turning a blind eye when they knew it was going on, are people you want to entrust with the most intimate details of your life?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Semantics

      "the man is being disingenuous if he doesn't see the difference."

      No he isn't. He's being disingenuous if he sees the difference, but claims that there is none. If he doesn't see the difference then he's being stupid.

      Semantics is an important discipline. It teaches you the difference between words like "disingenuous" and "stupid".

    4. andy 45
      Thumb Down

      @harry

      Just because tracking and privacy 'violations' are becoming more commonplace doesnt mean we have to put up with it.

      Back to the topic though - the story is about this bignob from Google stating that if we want privacy we must be criminals - what a dick!

  80. John Sanders
    Big Brother

    It seems...

    To google we're scum, uh? Like the scum we are to our governments.... uh?

    It seems not only states need criminals, google needs them now as a justification too.

    "It is all for your own good" It won't be long until google starts to use this claim too.

    My friends, in the 21st century the battle is not between left and right, communism or capitalism, it is a battle between the "big and the small", this is; a battle between the common citizen and those that want him to behave like sheep.

  81. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Stop the google bashing

    C'mon people, stop the google bashing, Eric is right, If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place, think of all the people that this could be applied to, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Liner etc. if we knew what these people were really up to then think how much safer the world be. Google et al and the ISP *should* retain histories of sites browsed and emails sent so we track down the terrorists who are looking up details of bomb making on the interweb.

    Now, since only evil people who do evil things have something to hide, can we see the Google source code to see how web sites get ranked and the methodology behind how google serves up ad words?

    Hello?

    Eric?

    Can you hear me?

    You're very quiet Eric.

    HELLO ERIC, ARE YOU THERE?

    1. M Gale

      lol

      What six idiots didn't read this post and voted this comedian down?

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money

    Google want our data because the more of it they have the more profit they can make. Schmidt's ranting is nothing more than trying to justify that without actually admiting their true motives. At least Phorm were pretty open about their motives and intentions, they never once tried to claim their business was aiding national security.

    Remember when Google started up? All that stuff about how right on they were, and how touchy feely. Some of us didn't believe that then, and I hope nobody believes it now. I've always believed that Google are the biggest uber capitalists in the world, and I think they've proved it now.

    I've had a thought: How about a Google proxy. You could set up some sort of proxy so that every search query appeared to come from the same person, that would bugger up their data collection. Google like to be some sort of a content proxy don't they? (See recent news stories about Google and news providers.) So they could hardly complain.

    There are other search engines out there, some of which are actually kind of nice. Everyclick, for example, donotes some of the advertising revenue from every click (geddit?) to charity. You even get to choose the charity. Google probably think that's a dangerously communist practice, so that must be a good thing.

    All in all I think it's time we changed the verb to Google. How about we redefine it as being "to use any means to make money without caring how it effects anybody else"?

  83. Anonymous John
    FAIL

    Gmail.

    Gmail strips the sender's IP address from emails? Why, if Google believes that its customers have nothing to hide?

  84. bill 20
    Big Brother

    The problem with this attitude is...

    ...that Mr. Schmidt's definition of a "miscreant" isn't necessarily the same as your's or mine.

    Certain type of activity can be pretty much universally agreed by sane, well-adjusted people to be "miscreant": some examples have been listed in the article.

    But what happens when someone decides that your political beliefs are "miscreant"? Or your affiliation to a Trades Union? Or your religious convictions (or Lack Of)? What about your sexual orientation? How about your ethnicity? Or environmental convictions? The protection enshrined in UK/EU laws for these aspects of the individual are fatally eroded by the collection of such data and it's serving-up to whoever has a court-order by Google and others. On that basis, this deliberate and wilful contravention of these laws should be prosecuted vigorously - but will they be? Of course not.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Proxied/SSL-ed google ;)

    Guys try this:

    http://www.corpask.com/index.php?q=uggcf%3A%2F%2Fffy.fpebbtyr.bet&hl=3fd

    It's a Base64/ROT13 url obfuscation proxy starting at Scroogle (which is an SSL-enabled, cookie-less, IP-anonymizing, script-less) Google search engine interface.

    1. Mr Cheese
      Thumb Up

      it already exists

      there is already a proxy like that, they even remove all the ads for you

      http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

  86. Inachu
    Grenade

    Common thoughts of rich people.

    Rich people want everyone else to live in a glass house.

    They do not want to see you smoking or having sex or watching bad tv or be offended if they can'y make a profit off you and if they do not make profit off you then they want to take more freedoms away from you in a way that forces you to pay so that the rich do make a profit from you.

    They stick it to the man each and everytime.

  87. Chris 116
    FAIL

    Sigh

    What a first class twat.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The real problem

    I'd expect nothing less than this from Google. Anyone who has bothered to look at their past behaviour can see exactly what this company is about, and so Schmidt's comments should come as no surprise.

    What winds me up, however, are the Google fan boys. Google behaves the way it does for a reason (money and power) but the rabid defenders of Google seem all too happy to bend over and take it for nothing, while at the same time proselytising to the masses in order to gain more recruits to be shafted.

    It's bizarre.

  89. Stef 2

    Yes, but

    I'm okay with the trade-off, what I get is worth more than what I give them.

    The UK government, on the other hand...

  90. Alexis Vallance

    Mmmm

    There's nothing wrong with leaving the house, buying some milk, taking out the rubbish and mowing the lawn.

    Doesn't mean I want somebody watching and taking notes.

  91. John I'm only dancing
    FAIL

    Wanker

    Need I say more?

  92. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    WTF?

    Bad Schmidt!

    Don't be evil!

    *smack*

  93. Wize

    Maybe they are trying to help push users to MS's Bing.

    "If you're concerned about Google retaining your personal data, then you must be doing something you shouldn't be doing"

    I'm concerned about Google doing something they shouldn't be.

    Look at T-Mobile recently. Staff caught selling on personal data. Sure, they may not have my phone number yet but there will be other information that could be sold to others (eg you looked up car insurance 11 months ago, lets try selling you some more).

    Not to mention false positives. I check my gmail account on someone else's PC and I might get linked to all their searches, which could contain something illegal.

  94. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Hey! Cut Eric Schmidt some slack!

    Look, the guy is really smart. I mean really smart. At the same level Stallman is. However both are a bit kooky in that they don't really live in the real world.

    Eric probably doesn't care if you knew his surfing habits. I mean he doesn't hit porn sites, or even Page 3. To him, the internet is still a place where he surfs more technical stuff and maybe some online shopping for gadgets.

    Of course, on the flip side, he realizes the amount of money he and his company can make from sheep.

    You're the sheep.

    He may not mind the ads, now 'web 2.0ified' where they flash and jump around, sucking more bandwidth as they transfer, more cpu as they automatically play.

    He's fallen in to the trap that everything else is crap except what *I* want to sell you. I mean it interests me, therefore it should interest you.

    Or more to the point.... Sure you find those flash ads annoying. But you'd find them less annoying if they were for something that you actually wanted. Of course he's failing to consider that you really don't want those porn site ads flashing up on your work screen in the middle of the day.

    The fact is that Eric has both an agenda and is naive about real people. So please be more polite when you tell the wanker to piss off!

    But hey! What do I know?

    I tend to post shite with an alias...

    -G

    Big Brother black copter because they are watching you.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    In case you missed it

    Google has passed the tipping point .... and have moved smoothly into monoploy and seriously dangerous all consuming mindsets.

    Could you imagine the uproar if Microsoft held this data and behaved in this high handed fashion?

    Remember all the cries of horror at the prospect of Microsoft grabbing personal data or that they provided a 'backdoor' to the OS for the US security services. Something they consistently and categorically deny is there. In many ways they have an extremely open privacy policy in comparison to Google.

    What Google is doing is so much worse. With senior executives using the time worn ' what have you got to hide?' argument and all but admiting the secret services are crawling all over their copious data sets in the name of the Patriot Act. They are providing no transparency in regard to how they use and handle personal data. Not just your searches, but your emails, phone calls, and all of their other services including the soon to come OS. Google have built a data monolith of such complexity and cunning that it should be held with some degree of concern - both by the private individual and right thinking governments. The EU very seriously need to begin to look at this.

    In regard to my Microsoft comparison, Google do not have so much a 'backdoor' to data as a four lane highway for their own nefarious revenue and data gathering desires and for the US governent to access.

    'Don't be evil...... just become big enough to no longer care then work in cahoots with the government security services'.

    This is their motto. Under their privacy policy they have never seen the need to share the bit after the first three words.

    Come on EU, where is an Information Protection Commissioner when you need one?

    Anyone know a good free utility that I can run to block all google domain cookies, adsense references when you visit other sites and link through adverts?.... no? Anyone want to write one?

    You could call it GoogleGone 1.0

    REG: We really need a Schmitd devil horns, any of the other triumvirate of evil running the chocolate factory.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Flame

      I like traffic lights

      I've just been considering whether he released this information in this manner in order to raise the temperature on this privacy debate.

      He may be playing Devil's advocate and doesn't actually want the security services crawling all over his company, perhaps they are making him collect more and more data and he doesn't want to.

      Then I realised I was being naive and he's more 'incarnate' than 'advocate' :)

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Oh, now this is irony

      "Come on EU, where is an Information Protection Commissioner when you need one?"

      How quick things change. A couple of days ago we had lots of people defending Google when it ran into Switzerland regarding Streetview., which is in principle rooted in the same disrespect for privacy (or give me another reason why the app will enlarge any window in the image).

      I'm glad you're waking up at last..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        Oh I have been awake for sometime to this...

        It is the information commisars and the gullable 'anyone but Microsoft' proles that have been asleep for several years.

        At least critical mass awareness is growing.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And so it begins...

    Google became so big and powerful, now that they feel they have the right to pass judgment on what I should or should not be doing. Really, we should pass clear laws limiting the size of companies. No company should be allowed to become so big, ever. Between the "free market" getting screwed and myself getting screwed - I personally prefer the first.

    Orwell got two things wrong: it's not 1984 and it's not called Big Brother.

  97. Baying Lynch Mob
    Megaphone

    Signal-to-noise

    A lot of froth over very little content, here. As the article doesn't even include a link to the interview in question (only to another site busy ripping Schmidt to shreds), some more context and less paraphrasing would have helped. Without the spin, the message I'd take home from the first quotation is: if you're doing something that other people think to be wrong, then your first priority shouldn't always be to prevent them from knowing you're doing it - you should also consider *why* they think it's wrong.

    ``But the bigger news may be that Schmidt has actually admitted there are cases where the search giant is forced to release your personal data.''

    Why are commenters so pissed off with Google over this bit of news? Note the word "forced" - it's a problem with the privacy-destroying laws that our elected representatives keep making, and not with the companies that are complying (willingly or otherwise) with them.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Federal laws and google

      If Google didn't have the information then they couldn't be "Forced" to give it up and no one would care or be upset.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Economic reasons forced layoffs

      "Why are commenters so pissed off with Google over this bit of news? Note the word "forced" - it's a problem with the privacy-destroying laws that our elected representatives keep making, and not with the companies that are complying (willingly or otherwise) with them."

      Not even near the truth. A company is "forced to" sell anything they can (including everything they know about you) _when the profits are not high enough_. Everything else is a production of a vivid imagination.

      You notice that there's _no reference_ to police force or court orders, just "forced". No surprise to me.

  98. bluest.one
    Grenade

    Saucy Goose

    Politicians who espouse 'family values', who campaign against 'homosexual depravity' whilst proclaiming marriage sacred are more often than not, it seems, revealed at some point to be dirty philanderers or fervent cottagers.

    If this is a valid theory, then might it not suggest that, Eric, is up to no good also?

    Maybe he can publish a 24-hour feed of all his activities to prove his innocence in these matters?

    Unless he has something to hide, of course.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Google,

    Your CEO has just made an on-the-record comment of staggering stupidity which goes directly against the core principles of what Google is said to stand for.

    I think it's going to be kind of impossible for you in this situation to blandly say 'Our CEO's comments are personal and do not reflect the views and philosophy of Google, Inc.'. He is the CEO, after all.

    Happily he is only the CEO, not the owner (unlike, say, Gerald Ratner), so at least you have the option of taking action before your company's reputation is damaged any more.

    In the meantime, I am sure you understand that we are as comfortable with the idea of using Google as we might be with buying a car from a manufacturer who doesn't consider brakes to be particularly important 'because all drivers have insurance'.

  100. codemonkey
    Grenade

    YAWN

    More evidence of why it's time, as a collective, to turn out back on the "profit motive". How much more evidence do you people need? Profit = Anti Human. The logic is plain to see. Get it sorted in your head. Then make it so #1.

    Tick tick tick boom....Don't be holding it when it goes off...

  101. Bill B
    Black Helicopters

    Google's Global Privacy Counsel

    There is a wonderful personal blog on privacy by Google's Global Privacy Counsel (Peter Fleischer) at http://peterfleischer.blogspot.com/2009/12/on-sidewalk-in-milan.html. He emphasises that his ruminations are his, not Googles, which is just as well, since his article is in almost direct contradiction with Google's CEO.

  102. Simon 26
    Thumb Down

    The true mission statement of Google:

    do, know evil

  103. Mycho Silver badge

    Why do we elect governments by secret ballot?

    Surely keeping how you voted secret is only important if you vote for the BNP? If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear from people who dislike your party smacking you over the head with a baseball bat.

    Could it, just possibly, be that privacy is a fundamental tenet of democracy?

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Another Twat!

    Sorry My patience just ran off the end of cliff. :(

    Hey mate can I look into your house & see everything your family is doing & then can I rifle through all your Property & then reach into your mind?

    My thoughts & actions are "MY OWN" get it!!

    Can we have another Icon, basically to to graphically unload the whole Rack on these PR orientated opinionated buffoons.

  105. Paolo Marini
    Megaphone

    and the competent forum is?

    maybe he's too progressive, or maybe I am.

    I'm still puzzled as to how is it decided where to hold a trial when an "Internet fraud" or "Internet infringement" has happened... surely your telly or your boxing gloves are in a single physical place when something happens to them... but for an electronic document stored on Google, what says that the (eventual) infringement happens with the copy stored on Google's NAS, with the copy currently displayed on screen via the graphics card memory, or with the many copies kept at various stages through the communication link?

    they are all the same "document" yet one copy might infringe national laws, and one might not...

    have parliaments ever considered "multitude" issues in their proposals and discussions?

  106. David Simpson 1
    Big Brother

    YOU ARE FREE....

    YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WELL TELL YOU, YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WE TELL YOU!

  107. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Got a bug up your...

    He won't mind when there are recording devices everywhere he goes then. Including a few in the board room, his car and, just for good measure, one shoved so far up his arse his voice will be clear as crystal to capture all he says. Not that anyone is really interested in hearing anything he has to say.

    So Eric, can we look forward to transcripts of all internal Google workings? Especially those juicy bits from around the kool-ade cooler.

    Thumbs up for installing Eric's bug and there isn't a Goog Goon with horns icon.

  108. Shane Kent
    Thumb Down

    What's that Eric...

    You want me to tell people to stop using your service because you don't care about their privacy?

    Looks like it's time to start changing people's start pages when I go to their house to fix their PC. As well as work PCs of the 4 companies I help. They are only multi million dollar construction companies, no great loss Eric....

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    "If you have something that you don't..."

    "... want anyone to know, [craft a Non-Disclosure Agreement]. "

    - http://valleywag.gawker.com/230407/this-nda-never-existed

    - http://valleywag.gawker.com/259537/privacy-and-haircuts

    - http://cananian.livejournal.com/46914.html

    hoojunkmail

  110. Watashi

    G**gle

    If you work for a sexist, homophobic, racist, right-wing, climate-change denying, evangelical Christian boss who is looking for staff to sack to reduce costs, I can think of quite a few perfectly legal things that an employee may not want to reveal about themselves.

    The "if you have nothing to hide" argument is based on the assumption that we live in a fair and just world. I guess Schmidt doesn't get out much.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shit

    So, like, if I'm like using Google's products, they can like see what I do and shit? Holy arse! And I can stop this happening by just not using their products? Wow, I wish someone had explained this to me before.

    I've just done a search on Google's searchy thing, and some people reckon they might use information to try and show me some adverts while I use their free services, or even to work out what I like. Shit. I suppose that kind of thing is evil. A bit like all of those billboards and things which are demographically targeted at me. You know, the ones I can ignore if I choose? I'll probably have to stop using my debit card to buy things, or then all those retailers will know what I like, and passively try to sell me things based on that. Like every major company in the Western World.

    The end of the world is clearly nigh when obviously intelligent people cannot make the link between not using a service they don't like the terms of, and not having to obey those terms. Heaven help us, you bunch of fucking morons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Title

      Shut up Kent.

    2. Bumbling Fool

      It's the principle, not the detail

      AC - I largely tend to agree with you. However, what concerns me is the "if you've got nothing to hide" kind of thinking that Eric Schmidt's statement represents.

      It's the pernicious assumption that if you like certain things to remain private then these things are necessarily 'wrong' in some way that worries me.

      I'm not a google knocker. I actually appreciate the fact that I can use some of their tools and services for free - and speaking personally I'm happy for there to be some reasonable quid pro quo in terms of their use of the information they collect about my web habits. If that means I get the odd few targetted ads then that's OK with me.

      But I do think it's important to stand up for the concept of the right to privacy which seems to me to be fundamental to the running of a truly free and democratic society. Obviously there has to be some balance - after all I believe we need the good guys to actually catch the bad guys once in a while and they need the tools and techniques to be able to do that. Getting that balance right in a fair, transparent and accountable way is very difficult, but essential.

      I think we need to resist the 'something to hide' argument - yes there are people who do have something to hide, but the vast majority of us have something to protect, not hide. And that's our dignity and privacy and the opportunity to carry out our everyday lives, doing everyday normal things without excessive and unwarranted surveillance.

      We shouldn't have to be looking over our shoulder every minute when we're doing absolutely nothing wrong. Nor should we be presumed to be guilty of something when we try to preserve our dignity and privacy - it's this huge and fallacious assumption in the thinking behind Eric Schmidt's words that must be exposed and defeated.

      Don't know why, but I believe our freedoms, democracy and rights are actually quite important.

    3. Ed Gould
      FAIL

      re : G**GLE

      You are right on the spot Watashi. This thinking is typical of the right wing "group think". The republicans just do not get it. They essentially are saying that if you think (and do) exactly what I do then there is never a problem. That is what the basic problem is. The right wing just knows they are right and everybody who disagrees with them are wrong and either should be put in jail (ala GITMO). There is no room for differences in their dictates. The republicans do whatever they want to and cloak in in national security. You object? Sorry you are wrong and must be jailed (preferably without bail and no chance of parole). The republican party is coming full circle to a communist dictatorship.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which one to believe?

      "make the link between not using a service they don't like the terms of, and not having to obey those terms"

      It haven't occurred you that CEO and "terms of usage" are seriously contradicting?

      Which one would _you_ believe?

  112. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Shitting.

    Where can I get a photograph of Eric Schmuck doing a shit on his toilet?

    Nowhere.

    Is this because Eric is ashamed of shitting on his toilet?

    No, it's because Eric clearly believes that shitting on one's toilet is nothing to be ashamed of, but perhaps is something he wouldn't necessarily choose to share with the world.

    According to his own argument, though, maybe he shouldn't be shitting on his own toilet if he doesn't want the entire world to know about it.

    Perhaps El Reg would see its way to publishing the headline "Eric Schmidt shits on his own toilet" - maybe even fake some photographs of this most dreadful of spectacles - and then we can all find out - and know - that particular piece of information about Eric, forcing him, thereby, to stop shitting through his mouth into our ears.

  113. This post has been deleted by its author

  114. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hmmm...

    Yeah, I have to admit I was slow on this one... They were in my "neutral" category, now they've worked their way up to "fail".

  115. Rick Giles
    Linux

    Looks like no Chrome OS for me

    I was going to get the beta and play with Google Chrome OS, but if they are this way with your web searching imagine what they will do with an OS. I bet Micro$oft is pissing themselves right now cause they couldn't pull it off.

  116. David Pollard

    As I've said before...

    Even without semantic obfuscation, 'do no evil' is a pretty wide brief.

  117. Stephen Bungay
    Linux

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to be concerned about"; this is the logic of tyranny, used to support the subjugation of freedom under the guise of maintaining public safety and security. Sadly, the once free democratic republics and parliamentary democracies who sacrificed their young-men & women in the fight against such evils, have now begun to embrace tyrannical policies. Sadder still is the lack of concern seen in the populace, of which each denizen now faces the spectre (sic) of being subjects of a state, rather than citizens of a nation, or a world.

  118. rwrentf

    Sent to press@google.com

    I sent this to google after reading the article, hopefully many will follow suit:

    I've never sent an email like this before and I considered myself a diehard Google user previously. For many years I've used Google for business and personal use (I'm a DBA by profession). But your CEO's comments on privacy have driven me to Bing. I understand they are probably providing similar information to the government (at a profit if they are following yahoo's business model), but the hypocrisy he displayed after banning CNET from google searches after they posted his personal information is too much for me to stomach.

    I am not trying to do anything illegal, but what I search for is my business. I'll be finding a proxy tool to use, and even then I won't be pointing at your search engine for the next year. It won't have the effect Eric's ban did, but hopefully I can rally more people behind me as I post copies of this to every bulletin board I can find.

    Bobby Rentfro

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Lying bastard

    ""If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," Schmidt tells CNBC, "

    Hey Schmidt, how much did you get paid for that statement?

    Do you really mean what you said (when it concerns to yourself) or are you a weasel?

    1 to 100 he's a weasel, lying bastard.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Google doesn't protect whistleblowers.. it helps govts and companies oppress them

    Google doesn't know nor does it care whether what you are doing is "right".

    Take the whistle blowers who use Google's blog services or Orkut. They are doomed. Indian Police has a deal with Google and Google hands the users over to Indian Police without any checks. Without any checking. The users could be expressing political speech or complaining about a product from some company or poor service. Google simply hands them over and they get dragged around by corrupt Indian police, they get SLAPPed... or they simply take their rants off the web and disappear...

    Was this expected of Google ? I don't think so !

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I might have something to hide..

    I may be writing a comment on a blog and may want to protect my identity. I may be whistleblowing. I may want to act quickly in the interest of public good without my identity revealed. And I might be in danger if revealed !

    I may not be a criminal...

  122. william henderson 1

    altavista

    it is then

  123. Iggle Piggle
    Coat

    What he said was...

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,"

    What we heard was

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, you are a sad wanker | child molestor | terrorist (you take your pick)"

    The problem is that he did not say that his users with something to hide are criminals, he just said it probably does not make sense to use Google if you want to keep that information private.

    For example, I'm working on a new product for my company, in doing so I Google various aspects of the new product and Google logs that fact. It would upset me to think that our competitors are being tipped off about this but in the light of this statement I should not be surprised. I should, indeed, not be using Google to look up information about the new product.

    I am not being a criminal, I am just being naive by using Google. It would be better for me to use something like scroogle or possibly spread my searches over various search engines.

    Now there are people who say that Google should not be recording the information. Well of course they should. For one the US Government appears (in their paranoia) to require it and perhaps more importantly Google are not a charity, they are in the advertising business and if there is one thing that we can say about the advertising industry it is that they have the morals of a degenerate banker. So that is they will doing anything to get ahead of the game. As so many people have observed, we are none of us obliged to use Google (or any other search engine) it is just that we have decided to live with the risks given the convenience. You are using their web site, don't be too outraged when you find that you have to play by their rules and did not bother to read the fine print first.

    So if you have got something to hide (your habbit, your taste in pornography, or your company secrets) I suggest you use scroogle. The rest of us can carry on using Google until the men in dark glasses come knocking.

  124. sunny
    Grenade

    Scary!

    Google seems to be getting arrogant day by day. I hope MS pumps in more investment under its search engine Bing, which already is very well defeating google in every aspect of search.

    Very personally speaking, now if i see a Google service on my pc only thing that comes to my mind is what if they are sniffing every key i am pressing... which i am sure they wud be... may be my fear is ridiculous but the appoach google has taken of end to end stack from Chrome to DNS and access to my private info is their holy right, makes me scared. I try boycott Google products everywhere possible and hope authorities wake up and smell where google is heading with this immature behavior.

  125. markp 1
    WTF?

    oh fer petes sake, get me a moon rocket

    Wow. Has he swallowed his own "do no evil" line so badly that he assumes no-one in the world - or at least no-one with access to the collected information and/or no-one else inside google itself - has a similar philosophy?

    Whilst skirting as gingerly as possible around Godwin, that sort of thing (not to mention a few other schemes being put in place by govts etc :-/ ) would have been gold dust to various powerful but not exactly altrusitic administrations that came to the fore in the earlier parts of the previous century. Your idea of something worth hiding may well conflict badly with theirs... right down to your heritage. And their idea of an appropriate punishment could be, well, a tad harsh.

    And this example would be all well and good as a "lesson from history" if much of the same behaviour wasn't still going on in certain places around the world even to this day. Confidentiality can be an incredibly powerful force for GOOD and mass benefit, as well as providing something for the odd genuine evil-minded criminal (lest we forget, very much a minority sector) to hide behind. This is a point best not forgotten.

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