Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet The Media It's funny.  Laugh.

ZDNet UK Begs for Google's Forgiveness 621

prostoalex writes "In light of the recent CNet ban by Google folks at ZDNet UK are now not sure whether they will get the same treatment, being a CNet company. But, just in case, they apologize profusely: 'Acting under the mistaken impression that Google's search engine was intended to help research public data, we have in the past enthusiastically abused the system to conduct exactly the kind of journalism that Google finds so objectionable. Clearly, there is no place in modern reporting for this kind of unregulated, unprotected access to readily available facts, let alone in capriciously using them to illustrate areas of concern. We apologise unreservedly, and will cooperate fully in helping Google change people's perceptions of its role just as soon as it feels capable of communicating to us how it wishes that role to be seen.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ZDNet UK Begs for Google's Forgiveness

Comments Filter:
  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:14AM (#13293800) Journal
    I can't help but think that the people at Google would be able to find the sarcasm dripping from ZDNet UK's "apology" insightful, funny, and apropos, perhaps enough so that they'll lovingly buy them out and fire them all.
    • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:18AM (#13293836) Journal
      Executive summary: Google, you're an idiot. Just for the record, please spell out the double-standard you wish us to apply to Google vs. the rest of the world.
      • We provide a service, and have a mission.

        We believe in freedom of information.

        Our mission is to collect and index all the public information in the world, and make it available to everyone, irrespective of race, gender, religion or level of affluence. We see access to information as the great leveller, eroding the boundries between the haves and the have-nots and promoting a more egalitarian and just society. Because of this we do not charge for this service, nor even offer a "premium" version with additi
    • From TFP: "folks at ZDNet UK are now not sure whether they will get the same treatment"

      They can be sure of getting the same treatment now. Glad they cleared THAT up.
    • by nes11 ( 767888 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:34AM (#13293945)
      I honestly can't figure out why everyone is so upset about this. CNet's article was below the belt. Whether they had that right or not isn't the issue. Google didn't say they shouldn't have written it, but rather that they have to deal with the consequences. Reporters get thrown out of press conferences all the time for being obnoxious & no one complains. Why is it different because it's Google? Personally I applaud Google for having the fortitude to blow off CNet. It's that 'we-don't-need-you' attitude that we've all always loved about Google in the first place.
      • This is different because everyone expects google to be *better* than others... You know, the whole "do no evil" thing. (On the other hand, CNet could have made the same story by researching personal info on one of their own, thereby maintaining journalistic integrity, instead of being lumped with tabloid sensationalists.)
        • You know, the whole "do no evil" thing.

          This is an unfortunate and disturbing trend: the misinterpretation of the mantra "do no evil"--whether in the context of Google or life in general--as meaning "please take advantage of my good nature and feel free to be a dickhead because I'll take it".

          People already know that there is a great deal of information on the web. If ZDNet thought that it was important to reiterate this point, a reporter with real balls would have dug out every shred of information avai

      • nobody? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 )
        "Reporters get thrown out of press conferences all the time for being obnoxious & no one complains."

        The first part is an exageration, and the last part isn't true. At the very least, the reporter in question often complains.

        (His press-agency often complains too. As sometimes others that are worried about journalistic integrity or who see the role of a reporter as more then just slavishly repeating the official stance.)

        One should love google for the things they do that are good&cool, but it doesn't m
    • yes, bow to your master, www.google.com!
    • by bigtech ( 722116 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:36AM (#13293961)
      On the one hand, Cnet is singling out Google for something that can be done on any search engine. They go on to offer a slippery-slope argument about how Google could potentially do bad things. Altogether a cheap shot. On the other hand, Google's response is so arrogant, that it sounds it will incite the growing backlash. Is banning a news-source compatible with "do no evil"? I'm torn.
      • "Cnet is singling out Google for something that can be done on any search engine."

        That's a great point. I don't think I've seen anyone else bring that up.

        Mod Parent Up!

        On the other part, I'm not sure Google's response is really that arrogant. Perhaps somewhat, but not as much as everyone's making it sound. Seriously how important is CNet? If it was a major network or /. that would be one thing, but who seriously cares about CNet?
        • Who cares?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Deagol ( 323173 )
          When the White House bans a good portion of the indie press, ones that like to ask tough questions, from the Press Corp (or whatever it's called), in favor of major networks that tow the party line, we all howl bloody murder about the injustice of it all.

          Now, is the fact that CNet is supposedly small fry justification for people not caring about a much larger, much more influencial company shutting them out?

          Seems we have our own double standard here on /. to discuss.

      • What? Google's response wasn't arrogant at all.
        They didn't ban CNet from google or anything like that, they mearly said they would not speak with them personally for their articals. Basically saying CNet will not get any official quotes from google. Stop making it sound like it's such a huge deal.
      • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:40AM (#13294445) Homepage Journal
        The question is, should Cnet be treated as a news source? They've made the troll, that effectively shows they is nearly the level of National Enquirer.

        On the other hand, Google shouldn't be using shareholder time and resources to jealously protect its CEO and founder. I don't see it being too disimilar from Apple's retailiation against Wiley for publishing their book about Steve Jobs.

        I do see the point with backlash. For those that don't know, Apple withdrew ALL Wiley books from their stores, including the. Apple would have been better off doing nothing because of the press they got in response. It backfired so much that the book in question got a doubled run before the book was released.
      • Also posted on the story's comments page [zdnet.co.uk]

        Congratulations - with your unrepentant attitude and sophomoric sarcasm you've clearly identified yourselves as the bad guys here.

        The original article buried what should have been two interesting cautionery stories (about the information trails we leave behind us and Google's questionable data retention policies) under a mountain of unnecessary privacy-invasion and cheap personal shots. It was utterly unnecessary (and you had no right) to explictiely identify the pers
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:15AM (#13293806) Homepage Journal

    A guy is taking a walk and sees a frog on the side of the road. As he comes closer, the frog starts to talk. 'Kiss me and I will turn into a princess.' The guy picks the frog up and puts it in his pocket. The frog starts shouting, 'Hey! Didn't you hear me? I'm a Princess. Just kiss me and I will be yours.' The guy takes the frog out of his pocket and smiles at it and puts it back. The frog is really frustrated. 'I don't get it. Why won't you kiss me? I will turn into a beautiful princess and do anything you ask.' The guy says, 'Look, I'm a computer geek. I don't have time for girls. But a talking frog is cool.!'

    Ok, here's the thing. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. Geeks, and it appears ZDNet UK journalists, think that because something's "cool", it's good, regardless of the use.

    To use an extreme example (which happens to also be illegal, but being immoral doesn't always imply being illegal), it's not a reasonable thing for me to do to shoot the CEO of Smith & Wesson. Yes, I can use his gun to do that. People do use Smith & Wesson's guns to shoot people, legally and illegally. Smith & Wesson makes a substantial profit from people who use their products to shoot people. However, just as the founders of Google wouldn't advocate using their system to look up personal details about someone for malice, profit, or to invade their privacy, I seriously doubt the founders of Smith & Wesson particularly like the notion of protection racketeers using S&W guns to shoot shop owners or advocate it. There are legitimate and illegitimate uses of Smith and Wesson guns. There are legitimate and illegitimate uses of Google. Some of the former include shooting in self defense. Some of the latter includes looking up some private information because you need it.

    Yes I can look up many of Google's founder's "private" information via their own search engine. But while I may do so, I can have legitimate and illegitimate reasons for doing so. Legitimate reasons include trying to get a phone number for an old friend (in a world where Google's founder is a friend of mine); illegitimate reasons include gratuitously drawing the attention of thousands of people to information that reasonably should be considered private, whether it happens to be publically available or not. If CNet had a story about how Google's founder was fighting an attempt to build a mall near his home, it might have been reasonable to include the name of the street he lives upon, because that's relevent too. But this?

    I know many people will respond with "Well I can do it, so it's ok, because if it's possible to find out, it's public, and there's no difference between information being buried in the net and it being collected in one place and published as a news story". No, it isn't ok and yes there is a difference. That's the point. The chances are most of you wouldn't know any of this if CNET hadn't published it because you'd never have bothered to find it out. And the net doesn't change much. Anyone who knows my real name can probably Google enough to find out private information to the level of home address, my previous addresses, my telephone numbers, my friends, family, my interests, the music I love, and even my sexual fetishes. However, this information could also be extracted by an investigator using perfectly normal leg work and without any attempts to deceive anyone. Would that justify someone posting the information in my local newspaper, simply because it's out there and possible to find?

    The fact some people do not subscribe to the notion of there being a reasonable expectation of privacy does not mean that people should just blast out personal facts about others willy nilly, solicited or unsolicited. There's such a thing as personal responsibility. You have rights, but you also have moral obligations. We see technologies routinely end up crippled or even banned because some idiot decides that laws usually applied to two year olds ("If I can see it, it's mine.

    • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:36AM (#13293967) Homepage Journal
      To add some:

      I know many people will respond with "Well I can do it, so it's ok, because if it's possible to find out, it's public, and there's no difference between information being buried in the net and it being collected in one place and published as a news story". No, it isn't ok and yes there is a difference.

      There was a grad student a few years ago that collected a whole bunch of public information on powerlines, phone lines and fibre and internet lines. He sifted through it and made a very detailed map. The information contained therin could basically be used to take out a whole lot of critical infrastructure in the US.

      In the government/military such works, even having come from public sources, can be classified due to the sheer amount of critical information in them. This does not mean the sources are classified, merely that the sifted sorted analyzed information is.

      The fact some people do not subscribe to the notion of there being a reasonable expectation of privacy does not mean that people should just blast out personal facts about others willy nilly, solicited or unsolicited.

      I can follow someone home, get their address, habits, realtionship status etc... From that I can get a bit more information using publicly available information (say, the phone book and the library) and after a bit I would be able to know a lot about them. This does not mean I then go and publish the information all over the internet along with all the information I found out.
    • by mi ( 197448 )
      The point of the argument is that the facts are freely available. If they used Yahoo!'s search engine, the core of their argument would not have changed (there'd just be less amusement in it).

      As for defending the CEO's right to privacy, well, sorry. Being a CEO of a famous publicly traded company, he -- like politicians -- is a public figure (if not legally, then ethically anyway). You can not harm him physically (not even with something her company makes), but you can say anything about him, short only o

      • You're missing his whole point though. The issue isn't what "can" be done, it's what "should" be done.

        CNet at least flirted with if not crossed that line.
    • by mmurphy000 ( 556983 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:42AM (#13294003)

      Generally, I agree with your assessment. However...

      If CNet had a story about how Google's founder was fighting an attempt to build a mall near his home, it might have been reasonable to include the name of the street he lives upon, because that's relevent too. But this?

      The original article [com.com] was on Google's potential use as a tool for ferreting out "private" information. Hence, Mr. Schmidt's "private" information would seem to be relevant as a compelling example of the problem.

      Moreover, the original article did not provide a street address in the text (though it linked to it). Most of the other facts it listed were stuff you might find in any Forbes or Fortune article. Really, only that one link to his address would seem beyond the pale.

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @10:15AM (#13294719) Homepage Journal
        What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. That has to be a fundamental priniciple of morality in any system that believes that people are equal in fundamental dignity and value.

        The original article was on Google's potential use as a tool for ferreting out "private" information. Hence, Mr. Schmidt's "private" information would seem to be relevant as a compelling example of the problem.

        OK, lets apply the goose-sauce principle to this situation. Clearly, there's a public benefit to talking about this. There's also a specific cost borne by one person. How do we know the cost is offset by the benefit?

        Simple. If you are the journalist writing this article, you use yourself as the example. Or, if you aren't juicy enough to have a nice fat Google profile, choose your editor, or the CEO of your employer. If the thought horrifies you -- well then the thought of doing it to somebody you don't know should too.

        Right and wrong in the real world isn't just about principles -- it's about consequences, beneficial and harmful. The problem is that we are good judges of consequences we bear ourselves, but poor judges of consequences borne by others. So, if we benefit from an action, and somebody else pays, there's a natural tendency to discount the costs.
      • The original article was on Google's potential use as a tool for ferreting out "private" information. Hence, Mr. Schmidt's "private" information would seem to be relevant as a compelling example of the problem.

        Actually one thing that every single person here seems to be missing is that the original article was mostly about Google's profiling and data retention, not the search engine.

        Of course, when you open up an article with a paragraph of links of personal information you found by searching Google, you'd
    • Okay- the point about S&W is 100% irrelevant- The vast majority of S&W's profits are from legal uses, in fact almost all guns used in crimes were stolen and sold on the street, so S&W doesn't make money off that, the same way the rolling stones don't make money when you buy a used CD.
      That said- If your points above are taken seriously, then most newspapers and news shows should not do what they do. Sure, a ton of what newspapers print about people is public record, but how dare newspapers repo
    • "Well I can do it, so it's ok, because if it's possible to find out, it's public, and there's no difference between information being buried in the net and it being collected in one place and published in a search engine"

      Just because an organization is too lazy to remove personal information from indexes doesn't make them any less accountable. ZDNet is saying "Hey, so are you for or against posting of personal information? Let us know and we'll publish the story." And of course the answer is "no, we're not
    • "Ok, here's the thing. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should."

      Ok, just because You think something is unreasonable, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

      "illegitimate reasons include gratuitously drawing the attention of thousands of people to information that reasonably should be considered private, whether it happens to be publically available or not."

      Reasonably considered private? Your, or anyone else's, opinion on what is 'reasonable' is irrelevant. Some people think it's reasonable t

      • by gclef ( 96311 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:43AM (#13294478)
        Reasonably considered private? Your, or anyone else's, opinion on what is 'reasonable' is irrelevant.

        Untrue. "Reasonable expectation of privacy" has a very clear legal meaning, and the "communities" opinion of "reasonable" does matter in court. see here: http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/325/325lect04.htm [ncwc.edu]

        The "reasonable expectation" test is a two-prong test based on:

        (1) the first prong -- subjective privacy -- is whether the person exhibited a personal expectation to be left alone from government intrusion
        (2) the second prong -- objective privacy -- is whether the personal expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable and several areas have already been determined to be beyond what society is willing to recognize ("exceptions" to what constitutes a search or requires a warrant to seize)
    • by hazee ( 728152 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:51AM (#13294082)
      Bollocks.

      You seem to be missing the fundamental point that most of the information in question came from Google itself.

      If the boss of Smith and Wesson routinely got shot at by nutcases toting guns he sold them, then he might be a bit more careful about who his company sold guns to. As it is, they're probably rarely affected, so it's "not their problem" - the more they sell, the better.

      In this case, Google is routinely hoovering up all the details of our lives, and all we can do is trust them because they're supposed to be the good guys, and the only assurance of that we have is their word. Sort of. Just exactly what does "do no evil" mean in the context of privacy issues anyhow?

      Google has provided us with all sorts of wonderful facilities but they are long overdue in providing serious answers to privacy concerns. As a publicly traded company, it's about time they started acting like grown ups.

      So far all attempts to get them to provide definitive answers to such questions have come to nothing, so eventually someone (CNet in this case) forced the issue by making it matter to them personally.

      It had to come to this eventually. If you're doing something that affects millions of people, and any concerns they raise are just deflected with "na na na na na - I can't hear you", then sooner or later, somebody somewhere is going to have no option but to force you to just ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION.

      Your own argument is actually in favour of the opposite position of the one you think it is - Google is ploughing ahead regardless, "just because they can".
      • And how do you propose they do this? Opt-Out?

        Should Google provide a form you can fill out that will tell them not to 'discover' your private information?

        "Here's my address Google, whenever you see it displayed in a web page I want you to not show that page in a search results list, regardless of what else might be on that page... "

        There really isn't anything else they could do, the content of a web page somewhere on the net isn't their responsibility...

        If you want to do something like this you'll need to d
    • Yes I can look up many of Google's founder's "private" information via their own search engine. But while I may do so, I can have legitimate and illegitimate reasons for doing so. Legitimate reasons include trying to get a phone number for an old friend (in a world where Google's founder is a friend of mine); illegitimate reasons include gratuitously drawing the attention of thousands of people to information that reasonably should be considered private, whether it happens to be publically available or not

    • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:16AM (#13294262)
      Just one quick thing to say:

      >I know many people will respond with "Well I can do it, so it's ok, because if it's possible to find out, it's public, and there's no difference between information being buried in the net and it being collected in one place and published as a news story". No, it isn't ok and yes there is a difference.

      and then

      >There's such a thing as personal responsibility. You have rights, but you also have moral obligations.

      Do you think that individuals who are attempting to make a profit running a business or service are somehow exempt from these moral obligations you're so fond of?

      If not, then how can you justify the folks at google making a huge, huge pile of money (to paraphrase you) "collecting information that is buried on the net in one place and publishing it"?

      If so, then how can you justify your apparent double-standard, wherein this behavior is morally reprehensible if it's "gratuitous" but morally appropriate if it's for a profit?

      It is this specific double standard that is being pointed out by CNet UK, by the way.

      • Do you think that individuals who are attempting to make a profit running a business or service are somehow exempt from these moral obligations you're so fond of?

        If not, then how can you justify the folks at google making a huge, huge pile of money (to paraphrase you) "collecting information that is buried on the net in one place and publishing it"?


        Google doesn't publish anything outside their own business related information. Personal information for say, myself is published by my place of work, school, et
    • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:21AM (#13294296) Homepage
      CNET was not trying to "out" a Google Exec., they were trying to make a point that lots of seemingly private information is out on the web, made more ever more accessible to Google.

      CNET did it with people. Google does it with computers. They're doing the same exact tasks, it's only a matter of degree. That's why Google's objection is so pathetic, they don't want to accept the negatives of the world they've created.

      I think it makes my life better overall, but that doesn't mean their arn't negatives.

      Ok, here's the thing. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. Geeks, and it appears Google engineers, think that because something's "cool", it's good, regardless of the use.

      I know many people will respond with "Well I can do it, so it's ok, because if it's possible to find out, it's public, and there's no difference between information being buried in the libraries and other physical public records and it being collected published in a publicly accessible and searchable electronic database". No, it isn't ok and yes there is a difference. That's the point. The chances are most of you wouldn't know any of this if Google hadn't made it searchable it because you'd never have bothered to find it out.


      Finally, what Google and Schmidt have failed to realize is that he's no longer just a private citizen. He's a public figure. He owns $1.5 billion in Google stock.... well it's gonna be disclosed. He donated money, it's going to be disclosed. He had a bio written for a speach he gave, it's going to be disclosed.

      If you don't want to be a public figure, don't become a CEO of a multi-billion company and don't become an actor. Duh.
  • Acting under the mistaken impression that Google's search engine was intended to help research public data, we have in the past enthusiastically abused the system to conduct exactly the kind of journalism that Google finds so objectionable.

    Just a bit...I sure Google will find a lot of humor in this. :-)
  • day-am. (Score:5, Funny)

    by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:15AM (#13293815) Journal
    I think this is the first time I've wanted to mod a story up for sarcasm.

    Incidentally, "Oh, snap. No they dih-ent."
  • by Johnny5000 ( 451029 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:16AM (#13293819) Homepage Journal
    Dear Google:

    we're sorry that you suck.

    -ZDNet
  • by 93,000 ( 150453 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:17AM (#13293826)
    Comic Book Guy: Oh, that's usefull.

    Actually, though, quite a good reply on ZD's part. It gave me a laugh, anyways.
  • The submitter's sarcasm detector looks like it's woefully inadequate.
  • That is some solid gold right there! I imagine the Comic Book Guys/Google Fanboys among us are dealing with quite the dilemma right now!
  • Gods (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ruie ( 30480 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:24AM (#13293869) Homepage
    and will cooperate fully in helping Google change people's perceptions of its role just as soon as it feels capable of communicating to us how it wishes that role to be seen.

    It is an old problem with gods - you don't know what they want..

  • by jarich ( 733129 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:25AM (#13293875) Homepage Journal
    Do No Evil! Do No Evil!

    Oh wait, we have money now! heh heh heh...

    ;)

  • by Chris_Jefferson ( 581445 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:25AM (#13293876) Homepage
    I'm really starting to get annoyed with news.com trying to seem like a victim here. Two things in particular occur to me.

    1) We all know you can find a lot of information on the net if you really search for it. That doesn't mean if you search around for all the information you can find about a particular person, and then slap it on the front page of a huge news site, without giving them advance notice, or asking their opinion in any way, they aren't going to get annoyed. Of course, it's still legal to do so, and Google and Eric know that. But it might have been decent to ask first.

    2) Google isn't banning news.com or anyone else from talking about Google, or using Google. They are just saying that they pissed them off, so they aren't going to talk to them. Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them? Does the press have some right to get all their questions answered by whoever they like?

    I imagine it's possible Google might have let this slip after a while, espically with a brief apology.
    • by Jarlsberg ( 643324 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:31AM (#13293916) Journal
      2) Google isn't banning news.com or anyone else from talking about Google, or using Google. They are just saying that they pissed them off, so they aren't going to talk to them. Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them? Does the press have some right to get all their questions answered by whoever they like?

      But publicly decrying Cnet news they're setting a precedent. They're saying, write something we don't like, and we'll stop talking to you. For a company and a CEO, that's a *pretty* childish thing to say, and quite a stupid thing for a company to do. I love ZDnet's sarcastic take on this. Google should be ashamed.

      • That makes no sense.
        If I were a company, and you were a reporter that was writing things I didn't like about me, why should I talk to you?
        • Because I would still write things about you, and all one would hear from your side of the story was "no comment".
          • That assumes that they are not talking to any news sites, which is not the case here. They'll continue to make comments, just not to news.com.
          • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mr Guy ( 547690 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:53AM (#13294104) Journal
            That's how MOST stories work, especially if the company doesn't believe it will get a fair reporting of their side.

            The problem here is that CNet used absolutely no self restraint in order to write an alarmist peice that Google can't personally do much about. What did they expect Google to do, filter out all numbers?

            Google decided that CNet was reactionary and alarmist and no longer feels giving CNet interviews is worth their employees time because they no longer trust CNet to be impartial.

            I'd have personally found out if my lawyers could make a decent case for cyber stalking. Just because peices of information are available doesn't make it okay to painstaking persue them and publish them, unmasked, in a collection for the world to see, and especially doesn't mean there's anything Google can do about it.

            This is exactly the same story as when people sue Google because you an use Google to find something proprietary to them. In those cases, the general oppinion seems to be that it's not Googles fault that information is available. What this reporter did, is say that because it's available he should be able to disclose anything he can dig up about Google's founder and publish it, knowing there's nothing Google's founder can do about it anyway.

            The reporter was an ass, and handled it in the most biased, reactionary, luddite way possible. I wouldn't deal with them anymore either.
      • by aug24 ( 38229 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @10:28AM (#13294820) Homepage
        But publicly decrying Cnet news they're setting a precedent.

        This is always worth losing my mod points for: THAT DIDN'T FUCKING HAPPEN.

        Google didn't issue a fucking press release, they just wouldn't give them any more interviews. OK? CNet then wrote a whinging article about how Google wasn't talking to them, the crybabies.

        Personally I do think Google is morally justified, but whether or not they are, they still weren't 'publicly decrying', just ignoring, CNet.

        J.

      • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @10:32AM (#13294842)
        But publicly decrying Cnet news they're setting a precedent.

        Except that they haven't publicly done anything.

        The only information coming from this story is from Cnet, Google has not made any announcements or attacks other than setting a company policy. They did not publicize that policy, Cnet did.

        And frankly, it's their right.

        This is the equivalent of the high school jackass doing something to piss you off, and when you don't repsond with anything more than an annoyed face they start yelling loudly "Oh, I'm sorry! Did I piss you off?" and do their best to make a scene.

        I don't see anything wrong with Google's actions here.

    • Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them?

      They can. And other "reporters" can comment on this, with SATIRE, if they so choose. Don't you love how freedom of speech works? Everyone can have their say in this matter.
    • Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them?

      Oh, they're perfectly free to ignore whoever they want -- but if it makes them look like immature assjacks, then they have to deal with that image they've painted for themselves...

      It's sort of a corollary to the old saying that speech may be free, but it is not without cost.
    • We all know you can find a lot of information on the net if you really search for it.

      Actually I'd question this. True, you and I and the slashdot crowd know this, but joe public, my parents and the very, very vast majority of people who use the internet - the same people who think the internet is a big blue e - simply are not aware how much private information is available if you look for it. And, even more worryingly, it doesn't take an expert to find it, just someone who is a little clued up.

      The average
    • Welcome to freedom of speech, sometimes people say things you don't like. Google should have responded to the story with an *answer* not an *attack*.

      "Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them?"

      Because Eric isn't Google and Google has a legal duty to dislcose, not disclose through 'rose-coloured-reporters' only.

      "I imagine it's possible Google might have let this slip after a while, espically with a brief apology."

      Apology? For what
    • Sure, Google has the right not to talk to News.com reporters. Even if it's just because they didn't like the allegedly "personal" content of an article. But using that right in this case is just infantile, which is why Google is getting such criticism.

      And for that matter, I don't think the details were really all that "personal". CNET revealed that Google's CEO is worth about $1.5 billion, that he lives in an affluent California town where he attended a $10,000-a-plate Democratic fundraiser, and that he's a
    • by MinutiaeMan ( 681498 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:49AM (#13294063) Homepage
      Why shouldn't they be allowed to decide some reporters piss off their chief executive, and they are going to ignore them? Does the press have some right to get all their questions answered by whoever they like?

      Certainly, the press has a right to try to get their questions answered. And companies (and individuals) have the right to respond with a "no comment". But when information is publicly available -- especially when it's made publicly available by the very company that's being researched and reported on -- it's incredibly childish to expect journalists to ignore available information that's relevant to a subject.

      And we're also talking about degrees here -- it's not like CNet posted the guy's private home address and phone number, or even something as personal (but still publicly available) as his (hypothetical) record of speeding and parking tickets (which would be totally irrelevant to the story).

      The point is, if you put the information on the Web, and you offer a search engine to make it easy to find that information, it's incredibly stupid to blame the journalists for using that little principle called "freedom of the press" to report on that information. And it's even sillier to make such a big stink about it and say you're going to ignore said journalists for a full year because you didn't like what they published.

      In short, CNet has no need to offer an apology; in fact, it's now Google that needs to offer an apology.
      • But when information is publicly available -- especially when it's made publicly available by the very company that's being researched and reported on -- it's incredibly childish to expect journalists to ignore available information that's relevant to a subject.

        ...how did actually publishing the information advance the reporting of the news, though? Was there any reason to rattle off specific bits of personal information instead of simply saying "We were able to find his SSN, address and personal cell nu

  • Tantrum (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ChilyMack ( 720195 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:27AM (#13293888)
    Punishing a media outlet for publishing freely available non-sensitive information sets a very bad precedent. Imagine if the government could get away with that. My feeling is that Google got far too used to the press eating up their every action and was shocked - shocked - when someone had a criticism. Perhaps their corporate philosophy needs to be broadened into "Do no evil, and don't pander to your inner brat." It's good that the folks at ZDNet aren't sucking up to Google. On the other hand, they might be provoking a playground brawl.
  • by greyfeld ( 521548 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:30AM (#13293908) Journal
    If you haven't read "A World Without Secrets" by Richard Hunter yet, I would suggest you do so. This is just the kind of questioning we need to have happen. Don't you ever wonder WHY they need your information, WHAT they are doing with it and HOW will it affect you when you give it to them? You should be!

    http://worldwithoutsecrets.gartner.com/section.php .id.49.s.1.jsp [gartner.com]

  • Ouch. That stings. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by millennial ( 830897 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:31AM (#13293921) Journal
    "Clearly, there is no place in modern reporting for this kind of unregulated, unprotected access to readily available facts..."

    BUUUUURN.
    Actually, this reminds me of a story I read on LiveJournal (flame suit engaged.) Someone's account was deleted because they posted someone's home address without their permission. Funny thing was, the guy's address was readily available on his own web site. Nevertheless, the poster's account was terminated, and he was told that he had violated the TOS for LiveJournal. (He also wasn't refunded the fee for his paid account.)

    Found it! Where's Meta? [xciv.org]
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:36AM (#13293960)
    But did anyone catch that Eric Schmitt's email address is EricSchmidt1@yahoo.com?

    Check [ericschmidt.com] for yourself.

    Say what you will about the guy, but he's got a sense of humor.
  • C'mon. The owner is just punishing another company for doing something CLEARLY and personally objectionable, and they're hiding behind the "oh, but you're this great big public good company, you should have stances we can follow, etc!"

    This isn't some kind of ideology game. ZDNet got taken to task for being dicks. We ought to recognize them as such.
  • Does anyone from the UK find it amusing that the submitter of the story failed to notice the dry irony and sarcasm that ZDNet UK are actually using?

    They're not begging for forgiveness guys, they're being sarcastic.

  • ZDNet seems to have some sort of ethical mental block virus spreading through their staff. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. If you don't get the difference between having access to information about a person from various sources and taking that information and making someone a target by singling them out then I would say you have real problems. How about I take pictures of your kids playing in a public playground and publish them in a forum known to be frequented by pedophiles alon
    • by zxnos ( 813588 )
      i think what zdnet did is ethical. if google thinks it is o.k. to gather information about people and put it in a location that is accessible to the public then another entity should be able to gather the same information and make it accessible to the public.

      to quote kant's categorical imperative: "Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law." i.e. only do what you want others to do.

      i think the greater aspect about this is that zdnet is making peop

    • How about I take pictures of your kids playing in a public playground and publish them in a forum known to be frequented by pedophiles along with your address? I could but I wouldn't.

      You could but you'd go to prison for it. Lets see here, reckless endangerment of a minor, or putting said minor at risk of personal injury above and beyond the normal run of affairs due to your actions, incitment to a crime, again regarding a minor, and they'll probably get you on loitering too. But that's because you got

  • That's not an apology but a slap to their face. But poooor cnet...
  • Am I the only one that thinks Googles decision not to talk with CNET has more to do with the paranoid nature of the article than it actual revelation of public information about Erich Schmidt.

    The article basically accuses Google of deliberately trying to collect information on it users with such privacy invading techniques as "using cookies" and "offering free webmail".

    No seriously, read the original article if you haven't. It's not just the singling out of the CEO that prompted Google's reaction it's enti
  • Apologizing with "Clearly, there is no place in modern reporting for this kind of unregulated, unprotected access to readily available facts, let alone in capriciously using them to illustrate areas of concern" is reminiscent of Monty Python:

    'We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with thier personal vendettas and private power struggles

  • Dear ZDnet UK

    We had completely forgotten you guys were over there. Thank you very much for bringing yourselves to our attention!

    Sincerely,

    The Google Team

    *click (the sound of enacting a non-evil ban)*


  • Most people picked up on the sarcasm in ZDNet's response, though it seemed to escape the story's submitter. After looking at the submitter's site it appears that english is not his native language (go to the root level, above the blog). As good as his english is, I guess sarcasm is a subtlety that is perhaps only heard by native or long-time speakers.

    This is not a knock on the submitter; I just find it interesting. Children below a certain age can't pick up on sarcasm either (something I've noticed in m
  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:43AM (#13294477)
    That step was to use Google's CEO as the example. Whether or not you can find information on Eric Schmidt is NOT the story from a journalism perspective. The news story is how easy it is to find personal information on the Web using search engines. And this is a well-trod story, so it's ongoing coverage, not a breaking story. It calls for a feature treatment.

    If written for a public audience, a proper feature treatment illustrates the story with examples gleaned from the general public. By focusing on Google and Google's CEO, this is clearly written to get the attention of Google, NOT as a general news article.

    Journalistically, this was a crappy article--poor idea, poor execution. It clearly was written to generate controversy and get under Google's skin. The writer probably thought they were being edgy and in-your-face--demonstrating their journalistic cojones by sticking it to a well-known powerful company.

    Well, that's a great attitude for a journalist, but it only works if you're breaking a story. In this case, the story offers no new information or no new angle. Really, no one is surprised that the author was able to find so much info about Eric Schmidt--it's old news. So it's really just what the old-school guys call a hatchet job. The only reason it's gotten any play at all is because of Google's response, not the story itself.

On the eighth day, God created FORTRAN.

Working...