Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Turns out Google's got meticulously detailed records of every Internet search you've ever done. To the shock and surprise of absolutely no one, the Bush administration wants them. In case you can't work out for yourself why this is a BAD THING, Tim Wu explains it in Slate.


Blogger sevenwarlocks said...

This is a bad thing, for all the reasons Tim Wu points out. Google’s success is due in part to brilliant branding. The public sees Google as the coolest, the hippest, the best. (True Dat – Doubletrue!) Everyone loves Google. Does anyone know that happened? Part of it is because we love to see anyone Internet company succeed that isn’t Microsoft, but companies like Real Networks and Netscape don’t have nearly the same mystique. Does Google even advertise? It’s entire marketing department seems to consist of a single Zen-Master somewhere.
It is predictable that the public will see Google as the hero in the coming legal battle with the government. In fact, they are the villains. Google was and is the active agent in the recording of our searches and IP adresses. By creating and compiling such data, they created what they must have known was a tempting target. And their own reasons for doing so – that knowing about us may someday help them make money off of us – is even worse than the stated (and even probable) motivations of the government.
Of course, Google does not have the right to kick down your door in the middle of the night and drag you off to wherever it we are torturing people now – and this is a right our government asserts far too frequently. I confess that this is a pretty good justification for being more afraid of the government than of Google, but that is irelevant. Google is not protecting our privacy from the government – they deliberately and cynically exposed us to governmental assault on our privacy. And for what? The theoretical ability to guess what we are likely to buy? Maybe what annoys me more than anything is the fact that this isn’t even a viable business strategy.
By recording us, Google betrayed us for a few – probably a very few – measly bucks. Should they be forced to give these records to the government, we should not forget that it was the recording, not the procuring, that was so easily avoidable.
Shame on you, Google.

12:46 PM  

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