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I consider myself to be the loyal opposition to Googles public face on privacy.

They are, in my opinion, walking a very thin line on all this.

A motto essentially means nothing.

,My father sat with me when I was about eight or ten watching a science special, and a bunch of men in white coats were on the screen.

The commercial for DuPont ended with an enthusiastic Better Living through Chemistry! My dad, who was a union organizer among other things earlier in life, and a Unitarian Universalist minister involved in civil rights/SCLC and other causes in my childhood, pointed to the screen and said, Shava, what are they trying to sell you there?,I blinked and said, I dunno, chemicals?,Dad shook his head, and said, People like you and me dont buy chemicals from DuPont, only big big companies do.

We might be little bottles of cleaning chemicals that someone else makes from chemicals they buy from them.

What they are buying from us is good will, a good feeling about what they do.

It means somewhere, somehow, they are doing something bad wrong, and when we find out what it is, they want us to thing well, but, they are ok guys -- they sponsor documentaries and they are nice men in white coats.

,Dont be Evil is much the same.

Google started out in a field where they were bound to fall into questionable practices, so they set themselves an ideal.

Little by little they rationalized themselves away from the priorities of their cattle (were not their customers -- their customers are the people they sell their data to).

,But I think the last point of them feeling the bamboo was under the fingernails was when they realized that they had no choices but to give up personal data to the government -- HERE, much less China -- whenever required.

Without notifying the individual involved, by law.

,Ive written on this on my own rather neglected site, rather mournfully:,A retrospective on #nymwars, Google as the Identity Network, and the NSAThey have pushed to do what they can to notify the public just how many secret requests they have to fulfill per quarter and other sorts of pushback against the government -- but at the same time, their leadership pushes us to feel comfy with the idea that sharing our personal information more and more freely -- medical information, whatever -- is a social good, without discussing any downsides.

,Dont be evil where evil is maybe a little self serving? It just doesnt work for me as a definition.

,There was a time, only a few years ago, when I was training activists on using gmail and various solutions for safer blogging for privacy.

I often wonder now, how long after this was safe I was still pointing people in the wrong direction.

You can only hold onto doubts that much -- no one to my knowledge was arrested, beaten, or died (which is a risk among people trained in the field).

But I would never recommend Google services to someone who depended on privacy for their life or livelihood at this point.