Maybe it's time for Google to take people's privacy seriously: A Mozilla honcho is so incensed about Google's continuing insensitivity to privacy concerns, he's asking that all Firefox users to immediately switch from Google to Bing. Making the suggestion more dramatic is that Mozilla gets most of its revenue from searches that people do on Google when using Firefox.
Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, was incensed at an interview that Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave to CNBC last Friday, in which when he was asked about people's worries about the amount of information Google has about people, Schmidt responded:
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
Dotzler responded in his blog:
"That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy. There is no ambiguity, no 'out of context' here.
Dotzler said that Bing has a better privacy rules than Google and included a link to a Firefox add-on that lets you search using Bing.
Dotzler has it exactly right. The amount of information Google has about you is absolutely frightening, and the company shows absolutely no concern about it. When it comes to privacy issues, Google has become exceedingly arrogant, and Schmidt's comment shows that's not about to change any time soon.
As Keizer points out, Mozilla gets most of its revenue from an arrangement in which Google is Firefox's default search engine and some of the revenue from searches performed on Google in Firefox goes to Mozilla. Dotzler should be commended for speaking his mind, even though it can have revenue implications for Mozilla --- the rest of the tech world, particularly Google, should be as honorable.