I’ve mentioned before that I value my privacy. I use tor, coupled with a range of other necessary but tedious approaches (such as refusing cookies, blocking ad servers, scrubbing my browser) to provide me with the degree of anonymity I consider my right in an increasingly public world. It is nobody’s business but mine if I choose to research the symptoms of bowel cancer or investigate the available statistics on crime clear up rates in Alabama. But according to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, my choosing to do so anonymously makes me at best suspect, and at worst possibly criminal. In an interview with CNBC, Schmidt reportedly said “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,”
I have been getting increasingly worried about Google’s activities for a while now, but the breathtaking chutzpah of Schmidt’s statement is beyond belief. Lots of perfectly ordinary, law abiding, private citizen’s from a wide range of backgrounds and interests will use Google’s search capabilities in the mistaken belief that in so doing they are relatively anonymous. This has not been so for some long time now, but the vast majority of people just don’t know that. For the CEO of the company providing those services to suggest that a desire for privacy implies criminality is frankly completely unacceptable.
Just don’t use Google. For anything. Ever.