Google CEO To Young People: You’ll Be Able to Get a New Identity When You Reach Adulthood

Google Chrome and CEOCheck out Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s solution for privacy advocates in this Wall Street Journal article over the weekend. Suddenly that Google Chrome logo looks like an all-seeing eye to me instead of some futuristic Simon.

Is this a future service Google is considering offering (the opportunity to “reload” your identity)? Worth reading the whole article from Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. in the WSJ:

Google takes a similarly generous view of its own motives on the politically vexed issue of privacy. Mr. Schmidt says regulation is unnecessary because Google faces such strong incentives to treat its users right, since they will walk away the minute Google does anything with their personal information they find “creepy.”

Really? Some might be skeptical that a user with, say, a thousand photos on Picasa would find it so easy to walk away. Or a guy with 10 years of emails on Gmail. Or a small business owner who has come to rely on Google Docs as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Isn’t stickiness — even slightly extortionate stickiness — what these Google services aim for?

Mr. Schmidt is surely right, though, that the questions go far beyond Google. “I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” he says. He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.

“I mean we really have to think about these things as a society,” he adds. “I’m not even talking about the really terrible stuff, terrorism and access to evil things,” he says.

Read More: Wall Street Journal

  • Haystack

    I've completely recoiled from using my real identity online, and from using social media, because I'm never sure what I'm going to be comfortable with people digging up 20 years from now. Companies like Google, Facebook, &c are going to have to get serious about privacy concerns or they're going to lose their lunch as people grow more sensible about what information they're willing to volunteer.

    • Connie Dobbs

      I found it easier to just stop bragging about stupid stuff on my social networkings. Also – use an alias and anonymous logins when trolling. frinstance – My real name isn't Connie, it's Constance. That'll fool them!

    • A Bad Joke

      Apply for a job. Employer finds your profile, finds out you're not a hard core bible thumper. You're not qualified. Sorry.

  • anon

    RT’s Lucy and Alyona hit it on the head how long before we accept that anonymity is an anti-social behavior and a crime?

  • anon

    RT's Lucy and Alyona hit it on the head how long before we accept that anonymity is an anti-social behavior and a crime?