Google co-founder Sergey Brin gave an interview to the Guardian UK this past weekend in which he lamented the loss of what he calls the “open web” of the past, even going so far as to intimate that he and Larry Page might not have attempted to create the search behemoth had companies like Facebook and Apple restricted access to their content.
Ironically the article was printed around the same time it came out that Google was fined $25,000 from the FCC for impeding an investigation into Google hacking open wi-fi connections to steal emails, texts and other private information. The $25,000 fine was primarily levied for the series of spins and stories that morphed from “we wouldn’t do that” to “we did it without provocation.”
Google wants you to empathize with them because they don’t have access to all of the information they’d like and to forgive them for violating the privacy of people with security vulnerabilities in their network. Maybe they should reserve some of their righteous indignation for themselves?
I like Google and I use a healthy complement of Google products, but this provides tangible proof that personal information is the currency of social monetization. And despite anyone’s assertions to the contrary, every social platform is leveraging its users’s personal information for profit. If Google is any indication it is likely more intrusively than we care to know.
It may be time to stop having the flaccid discussion about which platform has the best privacy features, and start having more relevant discussion about which companies are most responsible with the information their users entrust them with.