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Thoughts about privacy show Google’s mindset

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Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm

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Thoughts about privacy show Google’s mindset

When Google executive and search guru Amit Singhal calls the Internet search giant “the biggest kingmaker on this Earth,” he was more egotistical than wrong.

But when he followed up the comment to the U.K. Telegraph earlier this month with the standard Mountain View talking point that Google wants “to build products that are so high in value to the users that this debate about privacy is important but not critical,” he highlighted why people  find the company’s egotism disturbing.

The upgrading of Google’s self-image and the downgrading of privacy suggests an ingrained mentality that conceives of privacy as a just another product in the online marketplace, not a principle that should shape the marketplace.

It is a reflection of the same mindset that created CEO Eric Schmidt’s less than reassuring claim, that “if you have something you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.”

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This post was written by:

Margot Williams

- who has written 49 posts on Inside Google.

Margot Williams has more than two decades of experience in roles as investigative researcher, research editor, database editor, technology trainer and library director at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gannett newspapers and Time Warner. She was lead researcher on two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at The Washington Post for reporting on terrorism in 2002 and for an investigation of the use of deadly force by the District of Columbia police in 1999. Margot is the co-author of “Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web” (Cyberage Books, 1999) and contributed to the “Networkings” column in The Washington Post for five years.

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