[LINK] Change your name

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Aug 17 15:50:49 AEST 2010

[the comment at the end is a different twist - you'll to go look at 
it yourself if you're interested]

Google on privacy: change your name

Louisa Hearn
August 17, 2010 - 3:05PM

Google's chief has put forth a novel solution for today's teenagers 
whose wild online antics threaten to follow them into their adult 
life: change your name.

His comments come as the search giant attempts to allay public 
concern about plans to commercialise its ever-increasing pile of 
data. Schmidt's prediction for those wanting to distance themselves 
from their past came as part of a broad-based internet discussion 
with the 
Street Journal.

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is 
available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he said, 
as he predicted that all young people might one day be entitled to 
change their names in order to disown compromising activities 
captured on friends' social media sites.

This is the not the first time Google's chief has weighed in on the 
privacy debate. He was once quoted as saying: "If you have something 
that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it 
in the first place."

The debate, however, has shifted to vulnerable groups like teens, who 
many fear will be unfairly penalised for youthful follies when they 
enter the adult world.

Schmidt predicts that a culture of recommendation will soon take over 
from search engines, with location-based services combining with 
users' personal interests and needs to suggest a particular path of action.

''One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf 
without you needing to type. . . I actually think most people don't 
want Google to answer their questions," he told the WSJ. "They want 
Google to tell them 
they should be doing next."

In spite of the social danger to young people, Schmidt argues against 
regulation of the internet on the basis that users would surely 
protest against Google doing anything "creepy" with their data.

But even if Google chooses not to exploit its position of trust, 
privacy campaigners warn there are plenty of others prepared to have 
a crack at mining all the public available information for commercial 
gain, meaning there are no easy answers for the company that once 
vowed to "do no evil".

Market researcher, Hitwise, said Google accounted for 93.5 per cent 
of the Australian search market over the past month, and a vast store 
of personal information also exists in social applications like 
Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

Money lenders, employers, landlords and insurance companies are just 
a few organisations that might benefit from personal profiles of 
potential customers, according to privacy campaigners who say once 
photographs or other compromising data appears online, it becomes 
almost impossible to remove.

According to the WSJ, a data-trading marketplace could gather 
personal information from numerous sources, including Google, and 
offer highly personalised tracking of individuals.

"Tiny companies like BlueKai and eXelate Media already offer some of 
these services, pressuring Google to match them," it said.

According to 
Write Web blog, Schmidt had this to say at a recent conference: "Show 
us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think 
you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got 
Facebook photos! People will find it's very useful to have devices 
that remember what you want to do, because you forgot...But society 
isn't ready for questions that will be raised as result of 
user-generated content."

This story was found at: 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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