Capital Letters

Google's Gaffe?

5/21/2010 5:28 PM

Show of hands, here. How many people are still looking for the indignity and outrage from the online privacy and “open and transparent digital business practices” worlds about Google’s data harvesting gaffe/mistake/scandal?

Does anyone here think that if Comcast or Charter or Cox had been discovered collecting and storing private data for years, after having first denied it, that the net would be full of talk of inadvertence and gaffes and “must do better next times.”

Comcast/NBCU are not even partnered and they are being pilloried for a host of imagined and anticipated evils both on and off-line.

I am inclined to believe that Google made a mistake in its mission to collect all the world’s information, just as I am inclined to believe that Comcast made a mistake as well, trying to hit a scary and moving target with a blunderbuss, while proceeding to shoot itself in the foot.

But talk about discriminatory treatment in the digital age.

One online privacy proponent was too busy on other fronts to focus on the issue, I was told, while one of those groups that hammers Comcast at every turn said it was not focused on international issues at the moment — Google’s harvesting “gaffe” was discovered in Germany.

Maybe the executives running networks and content and applications companies are all out to conquer and control the world for their shareholders and incentive bonuses through nefarious means, blocking and degrading our political speech, harvesting our private data at will with a twirl of their mustaches and a swirl of their black capes.

Or maybe they are trying to figure out a business that is morphing at the speed of exponential technological change and sometimes get hoisted on their own petard.coms.

“Sauce for the Google?” a far better media reporter than I once asked.