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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4448
Published: 2014-10-22
House Arrest in Apple iOS before 8.1 relies on the hardware UID for its encryption key, which makes it easier for physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information from a Documents directory by obtaining this UID.

CVE-2014-4449
Published: 2014-10-22
iCloud Data Access in Apple iOS before 8.1 does not verify X.509 certificates from TLS servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers and obtain sensitive information via a crafted certificate.

CVE-2014-4450
Published: 2014-10-22
The QuickType feature in the Keyboards subsystem in Apple iOS before 8.1 collects typing-prediction data from fields with an off autocomplete attribute, which makes it easier for attackers to discover credentials by reading credential values within unintended DOM input elements.

CVE-2012-5242
Published: 2014-10-21
Directory traversal vulnerability in functions/suggest.php in Banana Dance B.2.6 and earlier allows remote attackers to include and execute arbitrary local files via a .. (dot dot) in the name parameter in a get_template action.

CVE-2012-5243
Published: 2014-10-21
functions/suggest.php in Banana Dance B.2.6 and earlier allows remote attackers to read arbitrary database information via a crafted request.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.