Google CEO Eric Schmidt is facing a backlash from privacy advocates following comments made during a TV interview last week.
When asked during an interview for CNBC’s recent “Inside the Mind of Google” special about whether users should be sharing information with Google as if it were a “trusted friend,” Schmidt responded, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
“If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities,” added Schmidt.
The CNBC clip with Schmidt’s comments can be viewed on YouTube.
The comments have lead to many in the industry to accuse Google of failing to understand the difference between ‘privacy’ and ‘secrets’.
Gawker was quick to point out the personal hypocrisy of Schmidt’s dismissive stance, noting that for about a year, Schmidt blacklisted CNET reporters from Google after the tech news company published an article with information about his salary, neighborhood, hobbies, and political donations — all obtained from Google searches.
Meanwhile, Mozilla is recommending Micrsoft’s Bing search engine to web users, after Google’s CEO downplayed consumers’ privacy concerns.
Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s director of community development, provided a link to the Firefox extension that adds Bing to Firefox’s search engine list.
“Here’s how you can easily switch Firefox’s search from Google to Bing,” said Dotzler in an entry on his personal blog. The link he included leads to the Bing search add-on.
“That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy,” said Dotzler on his blog.