Let me first lay out my opinions. I think Google like a whole lot of the US companies are making a huge mistake in the way they expand into china. And I think aiding repressive governments in the way they do would if a more purely marxist revolt ever happens leads to much more serious long term problems. (Dean over on Dean's world outlines some of why i think people are being foolish for investing in china.)
I am also against the Federal government taking the info from google. Not so much for issues of privacy (which I'll be getting into in a moment) but because I think they way the federal government did it was utterly retarded. I think they should have pulled something like Clinton did when he pushed the TV industry into the television raitings system. But i increasingly do-not- believe the Bush administration wants to be successful but that they want to look like they are fighting to "protect our children" from "Immoral content."
Oh yes... and Gmail is my primary email service, google my default search engine, and google owns blogger.
But if you care about privacy google should scare the pants off you. Your home, your searches (especially if you have an ident with google)...basically any data about you on the internet is avalible with a little work for the finding. Google is the death of your privacy, which is why they have to -act- like they care about your privacy rights against the government. Their buisness model is to take any flowing electronic data relating to you and putting it at the fingertips of anyone with an internet connection.
And rapidly I am begining to think that simply put nothing is going to put a stop to that. So what is important in a world where our modern (or pre-modern... because I refuse to say we are living in the post modern world because that doesn't make sense *#)&(# ) Concept of privacy is essentially no more?.... And I think some issues like financial data and health care data will be much more restricted but will still be out there....
Transperency. And by that I mean people will soon have a right to know who is looking at their information. ( something i'd say akin to the once a year free credit check service) and who has paid for their information. The right to protest untrue information and have it flagged accordingly (thank you wikipedia). It is this sense o f transperency which people are sensing they have a right to in a world of much greater informational access (Look at hipaa and the new rules to protect financial data). This is why Google's support of the government of China is so offensive to our sensibilities even if we have not the capacity to frame it as such yet.
Google is the major gatemaster of information. and if Google-Tv (or Google-Vision) comes to fruition this will become an even greater problem.
Do no evil matters more then just a way to mock google for their hypocricy and false airs of moral superiority. If they don't see the evil their actions are creating to the world not yet born ( that they are largely responsible for giving birth to) then that means they will likely not understand it when the evil fruit becomes manifest.
However on Fark.com some one did put a logical spin on what google did. So I can still be irritated but see something important in their choices.
I don't know how accurate it is...but it does point to the chess like nature of what google is doing....
2006-01-25 02:29:38 AM Donald Hogan Mark II
this is all about data gathering from google's standpoint. google was ready to stand firm and do no evil and not comply with china and be the hero of the internet, freedom and the american way. then the chinese goverment showed google that their hackers can utterly block google's crawlers. it would be one thing for there to be no google in china, another thing for no one in the world to be able to search chinese pages with google. also, since statistical techniques are proving to be the best way to do translation with computers, google needs the chinese web data for development of translation programs. in the not too distant future we will be able to view pages from all over the world and have them automatically translated into our native language. (and translated well, not that babelfish crap, which is not statistical translation btw) having access to massive amounts of chinese language data will be very important between now and then. that's why google made this deal, not because they need chinese ad money.
If this is true its a really complex world google is in. So we have to be adult and pragmatic about it. We need to hold google accountable and show we aren't happy. But we need to keep it reasonable and respectable at this point in time.
I'm all about saying bring down the walls...but here the complexities don't seem to lend themselves to it.