Privacy has become a very hot topic across the Interwebs over the course of the year, with much of the focus aimed at Google and the plethora of information that they aggregate. Many people out there feel that Google doesn't respect user privacy. Since Google CEO Eric Schmidt made the following comment in a recent interview, it's hard to argue with them.
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place, but 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. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."
On the Official Google Blog, being that today is Data Privacy Day, Google has decided to make their views on privacy public with a good ol' animated video. In the video, Google explains how they put their privacy principles into practice. The principles are as follows:
- Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
- Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
- Make the collection of personal information transparent.
- Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
- Be a responsible steward of the information we hold.
Google stresses the idea that the user is in control. Google adheres to their principles, but users still have the reponsibility of telling Google just how much privacy they want. They also make it known that their engineers are working on "new privacy-enhancing initiatives" for 2010.