Google CEO: Don't like Street View? 'Move'
Schmidt kicks hornet's nest with privacy comment in CNN interview; Google tells Computerworld he misspoke
Computerworld - Google CEO Eric Schmidt has again kicked up something of an online firestorm with a statement about privacy.
In a CNN interview Monday, Schmidt responded to questions about what Google knows about people by saying that if people don't like having their homes photographed for Google Street View for the world to see, they can "just move."
The comment came during an interview on the Parker Spitzer show. "With Street View, we drive by exactly once, so you can just move," said Schmidt, eliciting uncomfortable laughter from interviewer Kathleen Parker. "The point is, we only do it once. This is not a monitoring situation."
Those few sentences stirred up the blogosphere, and various news sites erupted with stories about Schmidt apparently telling people they can move if they don't like having their houses on Street View.
Was he joking? Google e-mailed a statement from Schmidt to Computerworld that said he misspoke.
"As you can see from the unedited interview, my comments were made during a fairly long back and forth on privacy," Schmidt said in the e-mail. "I clearly misspoke. If you are worried about Street View and want your house removed please contact Google and we will remove it."
Christine Chen, a Google spokeswoman, added that if people want to remove their homes from Street View, they can simply locate the specific image, click "Report a problem" in the bottom left of the window, fill out the form and click "Submit."
Street View is a popular feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that gives users a 360-degree view of many streets, and the homes and cars that sit on them, around the world.
"They are not only flagrantly violating privacy, they are joking about it," said Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group. "It is really painting the picture of a "let them eat cake" kind of royal disregard for the feelings of their customers that is unmatched in this decade by any company. [Google is] almost begging for regulatory action and may get fined in Europe."
Schmidt's comments didn't help what has become an already tumultuous situation. Last week, Google said that nearly 250,000 German households had requested that their homes be removed from Street View. Many Germans have been upset that Google is getting ready to launch the service in 20 of the largest cities in that country.
Late last week, Google admitted that the cars it uses to drive around and photograph houses for Street View also inadvertently gathered personal information such as e-mails and passwords. Google apologized for the error and said it was taking steps to improve its privacy policies. Among those steps was the appointment of a privacy director to oversee engineering and product management, more privacy training for employees, and a requirement that each project leader prepare a privacy design document stating how user data involved in a project will be handled.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NSA defends collecting data from U.S. residents not suspected of terrorist activities
- Groups fear bill would allow free flow of data between private sector and NSA
- Google's move into home automation means even less privacy
- Bill to require warrant for email searches gains ground in House
- Coming soon to a fridge near you -- targeted ads
- Snowden leaks prompt tech firms to tout privacy, transparency policies
- License reader lawsuit can be heard, appeals court rules
- Is EU's 'right to be forgotten' really the 'right to edit the truth'?
- Tails 1.0: A bootable Linux distro that protects your privacy
- Privacy jitters derail controversial K-12 big data initiative
Read more about Privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.
- Combating Identity Theft in a Mobile, Social World Offering identity theft protection and remediation allows businesses to give their workforce the confidence to efficiently engage while bringing financial reward to the...
- After a Breach: Managing Identity Theft Effectively This white paper from LifeLock Business Solutions notes that FIs in addition to managing fraud should strive to turn a negative event for...
- Combating Identity Fraud in a Virtual World This slide presentation reveals findings from the Javelin Strategy & Research 2012 Identity Fraud Report about mobile and social trends, the real risks...
- Cloud Computing Drives IT and Business Agility Hybrid Cloud Accelerates Time to Value What is the main focus for IT in your organization - cost or agility? Many IT discussions today focus on cost controls rather...
- Data Protection and Disaster Recovery with iSCSI and VMware Get this on demand webcast now
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics... All Privacy White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!