"If you have something you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google

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Sagacious Hawk, I think you're right.  This is why I use fake names for half the things I do, and try to keep the dots from joining up.  Right now I've got some kind of stalker on my tail, and these basic measures have saved me a lot of trouble. 

Apart from that, just assume everything you do can be read by others, and don't even think about being naïve.  Right now I dropped some potentially embarrassing information into a particular site, which Mr Stalker thinks he can use against me, but ...

Thanks for the context. The additional statements make matters considerably worse.

"if you really need that kind of privacy"

The clear inference is that only crims NEED privacy.

His further statements basically say, "Google doesn't need to go out of its way to protect privacy - the government determines for itself what it has access to - which, of course, is everything. Why? Because the man says so - long live the man.

If Google wanted to do GOOD work, it would be challenging governments' access to information at every turn instead of just rolling over and opening their files to anyone with a badge.

Somehow, since the revolution in the sixties, the word "authorities" has come to mean "the good guys". I'm not saying government authorities are bad - they're just people. And working for the government doesn't make them either good OR right.

Consider this scenario: I'm driving along and I accidentally cut someone off. Unfortunately this someone happens to be a judge. (He can access anything about anyone. All he has to do is utter the magic words, "National Security".) He writes down my license number and, starting today, my every tax return for the rest of my life is audited, I'm on the "no-fly" list, I'm prevented from renewing my liquor license, every line of every form I've ever filled out is examined with all the care of an insurance claims adjustor looking for a reason to deny a claim, etc., etc. My life is ruined - all because access to my PERSONAL, PRIVATE data has not been protected. You may see this as an over-reaction, but this is actually how many, if not MOST, countries work - how MOST people live. This CAN happen anywhere. To paraphrase, all it takes for corrupt government to take root is for good people to do nothing.

"The clear inference is that only crims NEED privacy."  - certainly, they need it the most.  But then, they tend to be experts at preserving their privacy, through all kinds of underhand means. 

Still working from the same horseshit assumption - that people only need to conceal bad behaviour.  EVERYONE needs their private data protected to the SAME extent. 

So someone is stalking you, eh? Well, you've done nothing wrong so clearly you would have no problems if I published your address, right? If you want to prevent me from publishing your address, you MUST BE a crim.

My address is already in the public domain, like most people's. 

My stalker lives right next door anyway. 

"if you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide"  -

"If you have something you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."  -

These two statements aren't quite the same.  The first is from the point of view of others, and is after the fact.  The second is from a personal point of view and warns us to think twice before acting. 

We've been slowing giving up our privacy for convenience sake for years now....   We are slowly but inevitably moving in that direction.   Like it or not, we are becoming less and less private.

We evolved in societies that had little expectation of privacy. That may partly explain why a lot of pre-adults don't seem to "naturally" value personal privacy, except (say) from their parents.

When using a communications device the onus is on the end user to act in a fashion that protects their self interest. Anyone in the 21st century who links into the worldwide web or uses a cellular phone cannot be so naive as to think their transmissions are not subject to monitoring or capture. Laws created & put into place against such activities really carry no weight as the abilities of those in the 'hacker world' make detection & prosecution nearly impossible. Personal data collected by search engines are the least of our worries. It's the individuals who break into our financial accounts or steal files off our hard drives that gives me the heebee-jeebies.

Personal privacy seems to be taking a backseat to technology. I don't think the trend will be easy to turn around. In the meantime conduct yourself online in a manner that will minimize your vulnerability. Changing your personal data with regularity can help but is not bulletproof. Every little bit helps.   

If I don't get privacy then no one should have privacy, make it all public access, let's have a peek under everyone's kilt.


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