August 16, 2010

Schmidt Foot-In-Mouth Attack Continues

Wow, two consecutive Eric Schmidt posts. But this really is quite newsworthy. An interview with Wall Street Journal published on Saturday claims
He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites. 

This really is the most patent hogwash. Surely someone like Schmidt, with a brain the size of a planet, could foresee that if such name changing were to become commonplace it would inevitably lead to the creation of services that mapped between past and present-day identities? Given the ability to identify images recently demonstrated by sites like tineye.com it's only a matter of time before changing your name will no longer be a way to erase the records of your misdeeds.

This makes it all the more important that privacy and basic information security become high school subjects, but alas the corporate overlords that have the ear of government in most developed (and many less-developed) countries will be attempting to make sure that isn't a priority, because it isn't in their interests.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

There are so many people who don't emotionally understand that putting something on the net is commanding a computer to serve it to anyone, anywhere... I'm glad Google is making shocking/wacky statements that drive the point home instead of sugarcoated, ignorable corporatese.

I get frustrated when people blame Google for eroding the "privacy" of information that has been published with the most effective publication technology in the universe's known history. People need to understand and remember that the internet is deeply, inherently, fundamentally public. Google didn't make it that way, and Google can't unmake it.

(Now, it's possible to protect information under password-protected accounts etc., and questions about whether that protection will be bungled by the stewards of the data are legitimate. But so often "privacy issues" discussions this are purely about information that was made public in the first place.)

So Google may sound silly, but maybe that's what people need to hear - how the only alternatives to learning discretion on the internet are ridiculous.