London Telegraph 
Friday, July 2, 2010
FLASHBACK: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but 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. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.” Eric Schmidt, Google CEO.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, talks to Shane Richmond about mobile, privacy and how his strategy is different from Apple’s.
Of course, along the way Google gathers an awful lot of your data. Schmidt says this enables them to deliver better-targeted ads – more lucrative for Google, more relevant and less annoying for you. However, it raises privacy issues, something for which Google has been criticised.
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“I think the criticism is fine. I think criticism informs us, it makes us better. It doesn’t bother me at all,” Schmidt says. However, he acknowledges the problem but says it’s a broader issue. “Those concerns are real – I’m not trying to move away from them. The fact of the matter is that if you’re online all the time, computers are generating a lot of information about you. This is not a Google decision, this is a societal decision. In Britain, you all allow yourselves to be photographed on every street corner. Where are the riots?”
Google, Schmidt says, is kept in check by its customers and by the competition: “All of our testing indicates that the vast majority of people are perfectly happy with our policy. And this message is the message that nobody wants to hear so let me say it again: the reality is we make decisions based on what the average user tells us and we do check. And the reason that you should trust us is that if we were to violate that trust people would move immediately to someone else. We’re very non-sticky so we have a very high interest in maintaining the trust of those users.”
Full story here.