Privacy is relative

January 17, 2010: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” -Eric Schmidt

November 10, 2010: “Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced the salary hike in a memo late Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by Fortune. The memo was also leaked to Business Insider, which broke the news. Within hours, Google notified its staff that it had terminated the leaker, several sources told CNNMoney. A Google spokesman declined to comment on the issue, or on the memo.”

6 thoughts on “Privacy is relative

  1. Kaitlin Hanger

    Related to this is the recently published article from The Beast on their experimentation with how Facebook applies their algorithms to your feed and why you get the particular info you do. Not posting what you don’t want people to know is one thing, Eric Schmidt, but notwithstanding the fact that you have no control over what other people post about you there’s the issue of the stuff you DO want people to know that may be overlooked. You must read this article:

  2. Bertil Hatt

    If the memo was leaked in its entirety, it doesn’t include any statement about it being confidential — you’d need to check with their job contact if all aspects of remuneration are, but that would seem far fetched.

  3. Nitingoyal

    But why do you think he is thinking that no one is supposed to know this? This was a private email to Google employees and was not supposed to be leaked. There is a difference between visiting objectionable websites versus leaking corporate information.

  4. Seth Grimes

    Sure, Schmidt’s statement is extreme, but nonetheless it seems to me that you’re wrongly conflating privacy and confidentiality. Information about the Google raises wasn’t private, but it appears that it was confidential, with confidentiality binding on Google employees including the one who leaked the news.

  5. Nick Carr

    Seth, I think the distinction is specious in this context. If we’re talking about the expectation that everything someone does will be documented online, then that would cover confidences between friends as well as confidential memos from CEOs. Each assumes privacy of communication.

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