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Should you believe what Eric Schmidt says or what Google does?

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Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm

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Should you believe what Eric Schmidt says or what Google does?

Actions speak louder than words.  That’s why  I’m not putting much stock in what Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says anymore.

Speaking at The All Things Digital Conference on May 31 Schmidt said Google decided not to implement facial recognition technology because of privacy concerns.  He said he thought it’s something that can be used in a “very bad way as well as a very good way.”

“We actually built that technology and we withheld it,” Schmidt told the conference. “As far as I know it’s the only technology Google built and after looking at it we decided to stop.”

I actually thought that concerns about Google riding roughshod over consumers’ privacy might be getting through to the executive suites at the Googleplex.

Now I’m beginning to think Schmidt was really kicked upstairs when Larry Page resumed his position as chief executive office and is now completely out of the loop.

Guess what Google just bought?  A facial recognition company, Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, aka “PittPatt.”

A statement on PittPatt’s website said it was a “natural fit” to join Google.  Price wasn’t disclosed.

Looks like Page doesn’t care what Schmidt says in public and doesn’t care much about privacy either.  And guess who the Internet giant is sending to testify before the Senate Judiciary”s Antitrust Sub committee? Schmidt, not Page.

The senators should really insist on talking to the current CEO who clearly knows what Google is really up to.  Actions speak louder than words.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 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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  1. “Looks like Page doesn’t care what Schmidt says in public” | Beeware - 11. Aug, 2011

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