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Google: ‘give us data or you could die!’

May 21, 2009

I’ve been keeping a bit of an eye on the way that online systems are being used to map disease spread, including by Google. What I didn’t anticipate is that Google would use this as a kind of emotional blackmail to persuade governments to allow them as much data as they like for as long as possible.

Arguing against the European Commission’s proposal that Google should have to delete personal data after 6 months, Larry Page claims that to do so would be “in direct conflict with being able to map pandemics” and that without this the “more likely we all are to die.”

Google talk a lot of sense sometimes –  I was very impressed with their Privacy counsel, Richard Fleischer, at a meeting I was at the other week – and in many ways they are now an intimate part of the daily lives of millions of people, but this kind of overwrought emotionalism does them no favours and belies their moto, ‘don’t be evil’.

(again, thanks to Seda Gurses for finding this)

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