For a couple of months now, Google has been a favorite press whipping boy about issues like its DoubleClick acquisition and its new street level search capabilities. It has previously had other privacy issues with offerings like gmail as well. Now, Google has attracted the attention of the FTC and the EU data protection authorities and was also just named the worst offender in the Privacy International study "A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies."
The time has come that Google is no longer being given the benefit of the doubt because it is an agile, young company that is revolutionizing and enchanting the world. It clearly needs the same scrutiny that Microsoft attracts for its practices, and it’s time for Google to mature in the privacy space. It has grand plans for the future of amazing communication, information, and search functionalities — and brilliant people there ready to implement these tools. Google just needs to stop for a minute and consider the unintended consequences of its actions and its impacts on user privacy. Put those employees to work figuring out how to preserve human privacy rights along with the cool tools. It might slow it down a little, but Google has an opportunity to show just how creative and smart it really is by solving the whole problem, not just coding up the technology parts. It’s in a tremendous position of power to influence the entire industry and lead by example to bring the online world to a better place. Or, as Privacy International put it, it can continue to win the race to the bottom.