……nothing about Google has ever been this fluffy. As Andrew Brown recently reported on openDemocracy, Google collects mountains of IP-address-linked data about the search behaviour of all its customers. The more services you sign up for with Google (Gmail, Desktop, Homepage) the more Google knows about you, knowledge that it shares with third parties, for example, to make better-targeted ads. This is its core business model, and the reason why small ads are so successful. To keep our information flowing into the Googleplex, Google relies on a high level of either ignorance or (one hopes, more likely) trust from its users.
My thanks go to openDemocracy reader and friend Tony Curzon Price, and (indirectly) to the US Department of Justice, for pointing out what “Don’t be evil” might really mean in this context. Because what Google is promising with “Don’t be evil” is that it will respect the privacy of its users, rather than that it will work night and day for freedom of speech around the globe.