Risk
12/11/2009
03:45 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Douses Privacy Fire

CEO Eric Schmidt's remarks are being taken out of context, the company says.

Recent remarks by Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a CNBC interview have set off a firestorm among privacy advocates.

The controversy has even prompted Asa Dotzler, community development manager for Mozilla -- which depends on Google for revenue -- to recommend Microsoft's Bing search engine as an alternative to Google.

"People are treating Google like their most trusted friend," said CNBC's Maria Bartiromo in the interview. "Should they be?"

Passing on the opportunity to explain to Bartiromo the difference between trusted friends and multi-billion dollar search advertising companies, Schmidt responded, "I think judgment matters. ...If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines--including Google--do retain this information for some time. And 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."

Schmidt's remarks about the availability of search data to law enforcement demands have been seized on by privacy advocates as evidence of overall disregard for privacy on the part of both Schmidt and Google. Divorced from the context of the conversation, his statement sounds to critics like a reiteration of the commonly cited and just as commonly refuted pro-surveillance argument that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.

"I think that the thing that bothers me most about Google CEO Eric Schmidt's comment is that it makes clear that he simply doesn't understand privacy," said Doztler in a blog post on Thursday. "That a company with so much user data on its servers is led by someone who just doesn't understand privacy is really scary to me and it should be scary to you as well."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation made a similar observation. "Unfortunately, Schmidt's statement makes it seem as if Google, a company that claims to care about privacy, is not even concerned enough to understand basic lessons about privacy and why it's important on so many levels -- from protection against shallow embarrassments to the preservation of freedom and human rights," the cyber rights group said on Thursday.

Google says such criticism takes Schmidt's remarks out of context.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6335
Published: 2014-08-26
The Backup-Archive client in IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) for Space Management 5.x and 6.x before 6.2.5.3, 6.3.x before 6.3.2, 6.4.x before 6.4.2, and 7.1.x before 7.1.0.3 on Linux and AIX, and 5.x and 6.x before 6.1.5.6 on Solaris and HP-UX, does not preserve file permissions across backup and ...

CVE-2014-0480
Published: 2014-08-26
The core.urlresolvers.reverse function in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 does not properly validate URLs, which allows remote attackers to conduct phishing attacks via a // (slash slash) in a URL, which triggers a scheme-relative URL ...

CVE-2014-0481
Published: 2014-08-26
The default configuration for the file upload handling system in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 uses a sequential file name generation process when a file with a conflicting name is uploaded, which allows remote attackers to cause a d...

CVE-2014-0482
Published: 2014-08-26
The contrib.auth.middleware.RemoteUserMiddleware middleware in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3, when using the contrib.auth.backends.RemoteUserBackend backend, allows remote authenticated users to hijack web sessions via vectors relate...

CVE-2014-0483
Published: 2014-08-26
The administrative interface (contrib.admin) in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 does not check if a field represents a relationship between models, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information via a to_field ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.