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Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-my-motivation? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Writer and activist Cory Doctorow says competition keeps Google behaving ethically because it believes there are benefits to be had. However, as it moves into sectors where it faces fewer rivals this may not always be the case. 'It actually seems to be a quality metric. They believe they can attract customers, independent software vendors, resellers and an ecosystem around them by not being evil,' he says. 'Where they operate in narrower, less competitive markets — like where they’ve become an Internet service provider, for example — they abandon those commitments.'"
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Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil

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  • Monopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PlasmaEye (1128377) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @02:53PM (#44857367)
    So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?
    • Re:Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:13PM (#44857463)

      With reading TFA, I'm assume their fiber business is being referred to and their blocking 'Servers', which most other ISPs do. If that's the objection, it seems that that rule is only so a subscriber with an unlimited bandwidth plan does not run their own ISP on their connection. It seems quite fair, although there are probably a few other ways to enforce that than the more general ban, which I understand they do not enforce (also like most other ISPs).

      I've rarely seen Google approach evil other than some of the push with Google Plus, which I think is at least bordering on it, like embedding 'join Google Plus' function in a YouTube 'play' button.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Most other ISPs do? I don't think any of the ISPs I've ever used have wasted their energy doing that. They stopped giving out static IPs for free a long time ago and they've never guaranteed the kind of uptime or bandwidth necessary to make a server useful. And many ISPs cap the connection anyways.

        For people who care about those things, a residential plan is just not going to cut it. Now, a personal server for something that's only of interest to the extended family isn't likely to be something that's going

        • Re:Monopoly (Score:5, Informative)

          by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @05:58PM (#44858407)

          Every ISP I've ever used has had a "no servers" clause in their TOS. They also don't tend to enforce it, as I generally run SSH, etc. From what I can see, Google is no different other than having what looks like a well funded FUD campaign targeted at them. It's good to keep an eye on them, but I think they get a lot more abuse and a lot less praise than they deserve, compared to pretty much everybody else at least.

          • by the_B0fh (208483)

            It's port 25 and 80 that they block. What I've noticed is inbound 80 being the predominant one.

        • Now, maybe in parts of the country where there's FiOS service or uncapped connections capable of more than 5mbps that's not the case.

          5mbps is qite enough to run many small servers. In our datacenter, for example, we average approximately 1.2 mbps per server, when we measure across all systems in a given cabinet. 95th percentile billing (look it up).

      • All they need to do is get Glass right quick and then basically make everything run through G+. Facebook problem solved. Sure there'll be plenty of "backlash"... just like everyone stopped using FB when they found out how ridiculous their fine print was. Or not...
      • Re:Monopoly (Score:4, Informative)

        by DuckDodgers (541817) <keeper_of_the_wolf@@@yahoo...com> on Monday September 16, 2013 @10:58AM (#44863381)
        The problem is that they don't clearly define "server". If I use Bittorrent to download a Debian release, other downloaders are pulling the data from me. Will I be blocked? If I'm hosting a Minecraft server, will that be blocked? What about ownCloud, Tonido Plug, Gotomypc.com. Are they blocked? What if my home security system allows remote access, can I use that without violating my terms of service? What if I set up a simple S/FTP server for me and a few friends to access? I can understand an argument that I shouldn't run a node for newegg.com out of my basement, but I think Google should delineate more clearly between what kinds of home service are forbidden on a consumer plan - and if they really mean everything, it sucks.

        And in terms of Evil, Google complained that they couldn't query public posts on Facebook while Bing can, but can Bing or anyone else query public posts on Google Plus? Of course not. Are they opening Google Plus APIs to third party app developers so users can cross-read and cross-post content and comments from other networks? Of course not. I strongly suspect that Google circa 2005 would have done differently. But now that they've settled further into their position as an juggernaut, they've started to take pages from the Microsoft play book.

        I still trust Google more than I trust Microsoft. But the gap in credibility between the two companies is narrowing.
    • Re:Monopoly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:14PM (#44857473)

      So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?

      While that is true, what's different is those other companies generally get reamed when they pull a switch like that - Google, on the other hand, gets a free pass from lots of people.

      We see it happen here on Slashdot all the time.

      • Can you provide an example to back up your claim?

        I am also curious about the switch you are talking about? If you are talking about their no server policy, can you provide a link to where they said servers were OK at some point and then later went back on their word?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Google... gets a free pass from lots of people.

        Google, the Obama of the internet.

        Microsoft is the 'Bush'. They get blamed for everything that goes wrong

        Apple is a mix of Gore, Nader, and Perot on camera... Behind the scenes they are Kissinger and Rumsfeld.

      • Re:Monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:41PM (#44857951) Journal

        Which frankly blows my damned mind, its like "do no evil" is some sort of RDF instead of just another slogan like "think different" and "where do you want to go today?".

        I mean from the nasty stuff we are learning from Snowden to the locking down the backend (where is the public API for Google+? Last I checked it didn't exist) to their using spammer techniques with Chrome like tying it to unrelated third party software which I would say is not only evil (because Joe and Jane don't know how to reset the default browser) but seriously douchey time and time again we have seen Google act just as nasty as MSFT and Apple yet...crickets. Hell it doesn't matter what they do, even ripping off the old "Requires IE" bit [tumblr.com] not only will people refuse to see this as nasty you will often see them charge to DEFEND whatever douchey thing Google does! When I pointed out on one forum that Google was using the old toolbar spammer trick of tying Chrome to programs like CCleaner and Defraggler I even had one defender say "Well I downloaded Chrome and didn't get CCleaner" because he was so fucking desperate to defend an obviously scumbag behavior he was grasping at any straws he could find!

        I don't know, maybe I'm weird but I don't believe in "flying the flag" of ANY company, especially not the megacorps. If they make a good product like Win 7 or Android 2.x? I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due. If on the other hand they put out a product I think is crap, like Win 8 or those proprietary as hell and NSA wet dream [arstechnica.com] ChromeBooks? I'll be the first to start passing out the rotten tomatoes. I honestly do not understand this whole "corporations as ballclubs" mentality, first I thought maybe it was a form of buyer's remorse, you have invested all this money into something you really don't have a use for so you defend and try to justify it like the gal I saw struggling to use an iPad for a grocery list, but then you have the free products like Chrome and Google Search that are just as militantly defended...I don't know, maybe I'm one of the last sane guys in the nuthouse but jumping through flaming hoops to defend some supermegacorp that would happily shove them under a bus if it made the stock bounce 8% is just insanity to me.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What blows my mind is how "Don't be evil" is always chanted by Googlehate fans, not the other way around.

          It always goes "Google does this or another" - "Ha-ha, don't be evil, my ass! Are you going to tell me it's still true?", not "Google does this or another" - "See, you guys, they're still not doing evil as they promised!"

          Meanwhile, I, and others, just keep using what's convenient for them and evaluate things on case by case basis, not trying to paint it all by a nice soundbite.

          It's a fucking big corporat

        • +10
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          What exactly is evil about not having a public API for Google+? Did they promise one or something?

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Because they are pushing the living fuck out of Google+ (seriously you can't even watch a Youtube video if you haven't tied your REAL NAME to Google+ without it bugging the piss out of you, its gotten bad enough I use a different browser for YouTube now) and preached on and on AND ON about how "FOSS Friendly" and "you can always get your data out" they were yet the thing they are ramming down everyone's throats to tie EVERYTHING together is proprietary as fuck and has NO WAY to get your data out?

            I would poi

        • by TheSpoom (715771)

          where is the public API for Google+?

          Right here: https://developers.google.com/+/api/ [google.com]

          Perhaps you have a different meaning of "public" than I do.

    • by retech (1228598)
      The difference here is that the almighty all-seeing all-hipster voice of the doctorow said this. While it is nothing that anyone with an IQ over 95 and a smidgeon of common sense would be able to see and just say "meh" to; when the all wonderful doctorow says it the internet stops and takes notice.*


      *by "taking notice" it is understood that only BoingBoing and /. actually post or comment on the great doctorow. The rest of the world just does not give a shit.
      • by west (39918)

        You're sounding awfully bitter that a moderate number of people with limited amounts of time and energy pay more attention to Cory Doctorow than they do to you or me.

        Why? Outsourcing news filtering to those we've given some authority to is not a crime. It's how we function.

        Personally, I outsource my filtering to newpapers, TV, friends, family, experts who happen to get media coverage, etc...

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?

      Actually, no. Most corporations that size, in the rare cases where they're faced with competition, look for unethical ways to stop it.

      Google's made some effort to be ethical, but the ways in which they fall short are becoming harder to overlook. They're one of the few companies with the resources to resist the NSA for example, even if only to fight the gag order that's been placed on them regarding the level to which they

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        They're one of the few companies with the resources to resist the NSA for example, even if only to fight the gag order that's been placed on them regarding the level to which they have been served national security letters. If Google doesn't fight, what chance does a smaller company have? That's one of the areas in which Microsoft has actually acquitted itself pretty well.

        While I agree Google did OK, Microsoft *DID NOT* They bent over backwards to provide access. Outlook.com has builtin backdoors for these things, as do skype.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)

        Which reminds me that Doctorow recently recommended that web companies use "dead-man switches" to respond to NSA spying. By putting up a single sentence, "We have not been contacted by the NSA to turn over data" and leaving it up as long as it's true, they could fight against the despicable practice that the NSA, DEA, even the CFPB has, of demanding companies play ball and then forbid them from telling customers about it.

        A similar idea was suggested by some librarians some years ago (back when national security letters were new, I think). IIRC, the best legal advice said that removing the sign was a punishable non-compliance with a gag order, so I don't think that would work here, either.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          the best legal advice said that removing the sign was a punishable non-compliance with a gag order, so I don't think that would work here, either.

          Which is exactly why Google has to do this, because they have the resources to fight it in court. I'd like to see a court case where the NSA and US Govt try to assert the right to force a company not to take something off their web page.

          If we're going to have this fight, then we have to have this fight.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, they're just as full of bullshit as everyone else. ..but wave their dicks around like they weren't.

      can you imagine if Ford had come out with the slogan "Do No Evil" in 1996? would have been fucking laughed out of the states.

      it's such a fucking empty slogan anyways, since the opposite would be just hysterical as a sloga.

      KKK could take a lesson in feelgood marketing and adapt the slogan "Don't rape!". sure, has nothing to do with the business of KKK but it's generally acceptable, unlike KKK's actual pol

  • Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What else is to be said, they are not stupid, they hire the smartest, and some of the smartest are crooks.

    • "... they hire the smartest, and some of the smartest are crooks."

      Hire? They buy you out. You are now them, only you have no real tasks but spending the millions they just gave you to keep you on the bench and off the playing field...and your mouth firmly shut.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_acquisitions [wikipedia.org]

      Rivalry, my ass. The only rivalry I see is from Microsoft, leaving us the old "lesser of two evils" scenario. In other words, no choice. It's a good cop/bad cop routine meant to keep us in a state where

  • Unless they get hurt, they'll deal with anyone and anything evil - China being the prime example.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      By now US is the prime example. China may be evil with its own population, but US is with the entire world's one.
      • by sethstorm (512897)

        The problem with that is the US has a much higher threshold for such activities - whether in the US or across the world.

        That said, the US has (without apology) an empire to maintain and that it should not have to be made to submit to the world.

    • by plover (150551)

      They originally hoped that they'd bring uncensored information to China. When that got silenced, they switched to telling their customers they were being censored, bringing attention to the censorship. When that was silenced, they left.

      At the high level, (and from a Western viewpoint*,) those are not evil actions. The rest of their dealings with China and the Chinese market may have been less than angelic, but their overarching framework had noble foundations.

      * I qualified that statement because there is a

      • by hedwards (940851)

        What else did you expect them to do? Other than not even try, they took the only other reasonably option other than fully complying.

        It's not different from the US. See how long you can operate a server that provides child pornography and methods of taking down a plane before the server is shut down and confiscated.

        The law is what the law is in the country and until and unless the policy isn't enforced you're options are to not go there, to leave or to fight. And fighting is often times not viable in countri

    • Except when it comes to China., posted to Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil, has been moderated Troll (-1).
      Except when it comes to China., posted to Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

      Google was willing to deal with China, a country willing to silence someone for much less than the US. In spite of that, some people may have been quite angered at having that pointed out.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Their bottomless pit of an appetite for people's data that can be used for Advertising is IMHO pure evil.
    THen there is there slurping of data from their cars. I don't buy that their capturing of WiFi data was an accident.
    When they were photographing places why did they need to detect WiFi signals? They didn't.

    Google will do as must as they can to get data on the people who use their system.
    The can proclaim their 'goodness' as long as they are less evil than FaceBook.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:09PM (#44857441)

      That's kind of it. Their business is in selling adwords and they do that by trawling as much data as they can about as many people as they can. All of their other businesses are either amusing side projects they haven't figured out what to do with yet, or they do evil in support of their main advertising business.

      Anything that can't either boost adsense revenue or make money directly is eventually going to get cut.

      • by Animats (122034)

        Right, Google's problems with evil are more on the ad side. They had to pay $500,000,000 as a penalty to the Department of Justice to keep Larry Page out of jail [wsj.com] when Google was knowingly running ads for drug dealers. [wsj.com] (It wasn't about "Canadian pharmacies"; Google was caught in an FBI sting operation involving a fake representative of a Mexican drug lord.)

        After that, Google started checking out advertisers in the drug area more closely. But they continued to run ads for fake "foreclosure prevention" servi

        • Re:Google Do Do Evil (Score:5, Informative)

          by tlambert (566799) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:50PM (#44857991)

          Right, Google's problems with evil are more on the ad side. They paid extortion to the tune of $500,000,000 as a penalty to the Department of Justice to keep Larry Page out of jail when Google offended the pharmaceutical industry cartel. That amount was sufficient to match the bribes paid by the pharmaceutical industry, and since it shut down most internet pharmacies being found via google, they didn't pursue the matter further.

          There, fixed that for ya.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    on google Fiber? because to me, that's reasonable.

    • by Chemisor (97276)

      So evil is ok as long as it's reasonable?

      • by tlambert (566799)

        So evil is ok as long as it's reasonable?

        Well, a TOS statement that has yet to be enforced against anyone on the assumption that the customer also isn't evil is a hell of a lot less evil than an asymmetric rate for upload/download speeds or upload caps as a technical enforcement measure.

        PS: Got your own ISP to lift their RIAA/MPAA imposed download cap yet?

        • by hedwards (940851)

          The problem is that opting out of the ToS is a non-starter in many areas. Around here I get two viable choices for internet, I have to sign with one of them if I want to have an internet connection and I don't have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the agreement.

          What we really need is for the courts to start recognizing that these aren't contracts, these are demands placed on people with limited options and in some cases all of the options contain the same fine print.

  • by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:07PM (#44857429)

    It could be that the incentive to do evil is stronger in competitive markets. It would seem the incentive to to whatever it takes to be profitable in competitive markets would be even stronger.

    Whether a company decides it's a better strategy to be more competitive by trying to attract more customers by offering superior products (including ideologies like green, ethical, etc) or finding legal or illegal ways of exploiting society for higher revenue seems incidental.

    I am not saying google is good or evil. I am only saying that I don;t see the rationale to necessarily be good in competitive markets and bad in noncompetitive markets. If anything being bad in any sphere would seem to nullify Google's image as an ethical company and ruin any advantages such a reputation would have in markets where ethics were it's primary selling point.

    I think all companies try to be profitable and ethical. Where these 2 ideals are in conflict some companies have a higher willingness to overlook ethics in favor of profit. I don't think market competition is as relevant a factor as this article implies.

    • Generally speaking, it's almost always more profitable in the long run to be ethical. As in most things, there are exceptions. Also, profitability has to be thought of in a broader way to accurately understand this issue. Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" which includes wholeness in relationships which is always destroyed by being "evil".
      • It depends on how you view your ingroups and outgroups. If your ingroup is the whole world, then the most profitable thing to do is to be a socialist/philanthropist. If your ingroup is your family and your fellow shareholders, then ethics may not play such a big part in your ability to be profitable.

        By vowing not to be evil, Google is effectively claiming a larger ingroup than is typically expected of a corporation.

        Many people are perfectly content with their flourishing coming at the expense of the miser

        • by Drinian (621383)

          It is true that people may be content to advance at the expense and misery of others. In fact, it is rather common today, even in cultures that have a history of other-centered ethics (virtue), to glamorize such behavior (precisely because in those cultures there is an active abandonment of the foundations that produced them). And it is all done with the logic you suggest: "What is me and mine is right and good."

          The problem with that is how we treat the one is how we will treat the many, and people know thi

          • So, if you can abuse someone we both think is in our mutual "outgroup" I quietly know that you have the capability to do it to anyone, even those in your "ingroup" which includes me.

            This is probably true of shareholders in a company who find themselves with common interests for the moment. I think there is probably a deeper bond between other sorts of ingroups. I wouldn't assume that a man would be willing to murder his own son, because he was able to murder a stranger for money. I wouldn't assume that a soldier would be willing to kill his fellow soldiers because he was willing to kill an enemy soldier.

    • by Holladon (1620389)
      Exactly. Trying to tie this to "competition" seems like trying to force it into a preconceived argument when there's a much, much simpler explanation: Google, like all companies, tries to minimize its costs and maximize its revenues, and it's done so while more or less keeping its nose fairly clean vis-a-vis the consumers of its products and services. Having a good image all-around, sure, tends to give you a slight edge in any market with any competition -- including, by the way, the employment market, whic
  • Such words have varying definitions by person, your evil may be my good.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Exactly. You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. That's what I learned from Star Wars.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...after hiring so many people coming from other companies that never though being evil was something to be avoided?

    Not to pick on Microsofties, but how many of them can you hire without turning your company into Microsoft?

  • by iampiti (1059688) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:31PM (#44857547)
    And that's why is so important that a company has strong competitors. If they don't, they have fewer incentives to be ethical.
    I love Android, but Google needs strong competitors so that they make it good for consumers and not only good for themselves.
  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:39PM (#44857599)

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe. Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards. Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument, by changing the definition of Net Neutrality "discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] . I'm just shocked its not an Ars Technica...maybe they are still defending the iPhone launch.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jdogalt (961241)

      http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe.

      The original complaint I filed with the FCC, then the Kansas Attorney General, and then back to the FCC is here-

      http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/kag-draft-2k121024.pdf [cloudsession.com]

      Another slashdot echo of the EFF's take is here-

      http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/08/13/2148245/eff-slams-google-fiber-for-banning-servers-on-its-network [slashdot.org]

      Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards.

      Ad hominem much tuppe666? My name is Douglas McClendon.

      Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument,

      Here is my twist, I'll just post a paragraph from 10-201 (aka 'Net Neutrality')

      FCC-10-201 Paragraph 13 (see appendix B for t

    • http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe. Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards. Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument, by changing the definition of Net Neutrality "discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] . I'm just shocked its not an Ars Technica...maybe they are still defending the iPhone launch.

      Seems like it fits Net Neutrality perfectly to me. Google is discriminating based on content, right?

      If Google is universally looking down on servers, they're going after people hosting things from Starcraft servers to running Bittorrent, right? If those are allowed behaviors, then they're discriminating based on type of content.

      Google basically said "If you run a Starcraft server, that's ok. If you run an HTTP server, shame on you!" The irony is that an HTTP server is probably lower bandwidth than the other

      • The thing about the no servers policy isn't about the letter of the law, it's the spirit.

        I used to work for a few ISPs, and the point of the server clause isn't to bust people for running generically anything termed, "server", it's a matter of managing use scenarios(a home user maxing out bandwidth 24/7 is generally a bad idea), and service expectations. Last thing anyone ever needs is for some idiot to call the support line bitching that he's losing business because residential service conked out(this is

  • 'Where they operate in narrower, less competitive markets — like where they’ve become an Internet service provider, for example — they abandon those commitments.'

    Like where, give examples ...
    • by bbsalem (2784853)

      'Where they operate in narrower, less competitive markets — like where they’ve become an Internet service provider, for example — they abandon those commitments.' Like where, give examples ...

      OK, despite Google Docs and the ability to host web pages on Google if you have a Gmail account, the service contains incumbrances that violate standards such as web standards. You cannot upload HTML and CSS to their web host and expect it to run. I accept their effort to make web authorship easy for people who can't hand code their HTML and CSS, but if you wanted that much control over your web pages, even just static web pages, then what Google offers is not a full hosting service, not by a long shot, an

  • Can we consider Google of being 'good' in the crowded market of domestic surveillance?
  • by brit74 (831798) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @03:47PM (#44857649)
    Except that I don't recall any of the telephone companies stopping the NSA. And it's been claimed that Qwest lost out on US government contracts because it put up resistance to the US government.

    When Qwest refused the NSA’s illegal request that it hand over its customers’ data without a warrant, the NSA wasn’t happy. According to former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, the government hit back for the telecom’s refusal by denying them lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/qwest-ceo-nsa-punished-qwest-refusing-participate-illegal-surveillance-pre-9-11 [eff.org]

    Here's the thing: when there is competition, the government can play favorites with whoever does their bidding best. Remember the whole Yahoo-China thing? China could kick Yahoo out of China so Yahoo had to roll-over so that they could keep their marketshare. And Yahoo fought against the NSA in court as well, but they lost. What did Marissa Mayer say about that again?

    "Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer said she feared winding up in prison for treason if she refused to comply with U.S. spy demands for data. Her comments came after being asked what she is doing to protect Yahoo users from "tyrannical government" during an on-stage interview Wednesday afternoon at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco."

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/09/12/yahoo-ceo-fears-defying-nsa-could-mean-prison/ [foxnews.com]

    * Congrats, Cory. You've gotten on Slashdot several times in the past few weeks. Remember: it's important to keep your name in the news so that you can sell more books. Too bad your analysis is overly simplistic.

    • Absolutely frightening.
    • by west (39918)

      Cory's service to the community is not in providing nuanced analysis of issues. It's using his fame to bring issues to light that would simply be ignored by the more mainstream community.

      We've got dozens of people with blogs to provide cogent, deep analysis. We've got precious few people with enough name recognition that they can get important issues put on the agenda.

      I love in-depth policy analysis, but I'm well aware it's the kiss of death if you want to actually get things done in the real world. Simp

      • by casings (257363)

        Cory's service to the community is not in providing nuanced analysis of issues. It's using his fame to bring issues to light that would simply be ignored by the more mainstream community.

        And how exactly is that relevant here? You think the community needs another Google circlejerk?

        • by west (39918)

          Sorry, I should have quoted the relevant line I was responding to.

          Congrats, Cory. You've gotten on Slashdot several times in the past few weeks. Remember: it's important to keep your name in the news so that you can sell more books. Too bad your analysis is overly simplistic.

  • what part of "Spying for the NSA" is not evil?
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:25PM (#44857855)

    ... I'd just be happier if I could get Google to serve up search/result pages without suggestions, instant, sidebars, Javascript, safe search etc... Sure, I'm able to kill most of that using cookies, Proxomitron (strip code, bake cookies...) and NoScript but it's a PITA. I just want simple Google searches w/o all the crap. Just my $.02.

    • by iampiti (1059688)
      I'd be happy to pay for their services (search/gmail/drive...) if that guaranteed me that they don't store any info about me and that doesn't feed AdSense, and I get no ads. Just put a reasonable price on it and I bet many people would pay
    • You may want to consider using DuckDuckGo for searches. It anonymizes your search (until the G-men show up, of course) and doesn't tie into any other services.
      • You may want to consider using DuckDuckGo for searches...

        Thanks, I'm looking into that - and Startpage - now. They both offer desirable, easy display customizations.

        I don't really care about Google logging/using my search data, but it pisses me off that I can't (easily) customize the search experience on their pages. I was able to kill most of the annoying bits like suggestions and instant using NoScript and not allowing Javascript. Using Proxomitron was able to filter cookies and HTML to remove the redirection links, Tools bar and ensure other things were s

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @04:31PM (#44857893)

    A couple of non-nerd friends and I were talking a few weeks ago, and the topic of various Internet services came up. Without any prompting from me, both of them (one an Android user, the other a dumbphone user) mentioned that they were trying to get away from Google services like Gmail, Google+, GTalk, and even Android because of the creepy factor with how Google is using their data these days. No mention of PRISM or the NSA or the like until after I asked about it. They were simply bothered by the fact that they were being tracked as much as they were by Google.

    Now, I know an anecdote does not a trend make and that we can't extrapolate to the population at large, but still, having non-nerds both aware of and caring about this stuff enough to vocalize their desire to leave a company's products behind is pretty damning, and I was shocked to hear them volunteer that opinion, since I had thought that nerds were the only ones who cared enough about the topic to suggest taking such action.

  • competition keeps Google behaving ethically because it believes there are benefits to be had.

    perhaps it's the fact that they started the company under the mantra of "don't be evil." come on, Microsoft had to compete when it started out and they did a lot of douchebag things. remember how windows 3.1 wouldnt run on DR-DOS because MS sabotaged it. [theregister.co.uk]

    David Cole and Phil Barrett exchanged emails on 30 September 1991: " "It's pretty clear we need to make sure Windows 3.1 only runs on top of MS DOS or an OEM version of it," and "The approach we will take is to detect dr 6 and refuse to load. The error message should be something like 'Invalid device driver interface.'"

    so dont tell me that competition keeps businesses honest because it's the biggest load of bullshit i've heard in a long time. there is plenty of competition in the tech market and everyone seems to be going with the sue the competition into oblivion form

  • ...whether Google behaves ethically. I frequent the BoingBoing site, so I'm used to Doctorow's inane drivel, but this probably takes the biscuit.
  • No company or individual can "do no evil" when living under the thumb of "security" agencies that demand they betray the trust of their customers/friends, under penalty of treason.

  • Evil versus non-evil is image, not morality. A positive image is an asset in a competitive situation, but irrelevant for a monopoly. Evil without being caught is just as good, but Google understands the Internet well enough not to try that.

  • Isn't this the basic fallacy of capitalism where competition keeps corporate behaviour in check.
    But of course no solution is offered for when a company reaches near dominance in one area, not to mention multiple areas.

  • "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". Maybe Google just sucks at being evil [xkcd.com]?
  • I have often said that this is the hardest problem Google faces: How not to be evil, and how to make that an ongoing legacy. It's just possible as long as the founders retain control, but after that it becomes truly hard.

    Assuming they take this seriously, I hope they dedicate resources to this, and do not underestimate the complexity of the problem.

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