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The Onion nails Google on privacy

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Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

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The Onion, the satirical newspaper, has an on-the-mark article today that makes you realize why people are concerned about the amount of information Internet giant Google gathers about consumers.

The article purports to be a news story describing a Google apology for abusing consumers privacy, or as the Onion says in the headline, "Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology."

Here’s an except:

"MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Responding to recent public outcries over its handling of private data, search giant Google offered a wide-ranging and eerily well-informed apology to its millions of users Monday.

"We would like to extend our deepest apologies to each and every one of you," announced CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking from the company’s Googleplex headquarters. "Clearly there have been some privacy concerns as of late, and judging by some of the search terms we’ve seen, along with the tens of thousands of personal e-mail exchanges and Google Chat conversations we’ve carefully examined, it looks as though it might be a while before we regain your trust."

Google expressed regret to some of its third-generation Irish-American users on Smithwood between Barlow and Lake.

Added Schmidt, "Whether you’re Michael Paulson who lives at 3425 Longview Terrace and makes $86,400 a year, or Jessica Goldblatt from Lynnwood, WA, who already has well-established trust issues, we at Google would just like to say how very, truly sorry we are…"


I laughed all the way to end. Then I paused and thought that this really isn’t that much of a stretch from what Google is really capable of doing.  It’s the Googleborg and resistance is futile.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 349 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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