Privacy The Sky Is Falling

Brin’s Foreshadowing of Google Books Privacy Policy

Ah. The Google Books fiasco. I’ve seen it in the news, have been quietly monitoring the situation, but I just read Sergey Brin’s editorial in the New York Times. One bit of language at the end really caught my attention:

Last, there have been objections to … the details of our privacy policy. These are all valid questions, and … we are working hard to address them — … [by] further detailing our privacy policy. And if we don’t get our product right, then others will. But one thing that is sure to halt any such progress is to have no settlement at all.

(Emphasis added by me, removed bibliographic and classification system portions: see original)

He's holding a library of books there
He's holding a library of books there

The rough translation: You are not going to like our privacy policy, and if so, then you’ll have to go elsewhere to read our books. Some “competitor” will do it in a way you’ll like.

Or, even shorter: PFO

People are lazy. Use Gmail, Google Reader, Google’s free web applications, iGoogle, Picasa, YouTube, Google Desktop and give away pretty much your entire digital collection of information to Mountain View, CA.

Really? If you decide to monitor my book reading, then I should go to others?

Gee thanks. I’ll just yank out my billion dollars out of the bank account, and go digitize a library, put it online, and start using that instead.

And, what’s the financial incentive to do this? Oh right, so that I can appease the vocal minority of whiners (hey!) who give a shit about having every book they’re reading (when, where, what page, how fast) being monitored and monetized?

Note they’re further detailing instead of completely rewriting. Let me enter my happy world with the pink sky and not evil corporations: How about you keep my shit private, all of the time? No?

The state of privacy on the internet is crap.