Schmidt: "common man" not as worried about data privacy

Google leader says "elites" have more concerns with privacy and data retention than regular people

Nicole Kobie
20 May 2011

Google's Eric Schmidt has suggested most people aren't worried about privacy, saying such issues are raised by "elites" not the "common man".

Google's former CEO and now executive chairman has been doing the rounds in London after the Google Zeitgeist and Big Tent conferences earlier this week.

While he has been quoted as saying Google will avoid technologies such as facial recognition and resist anti-piracy laws in the US, he rounded out the week by suggesting that online privacy and data retention are more of a concern to the "elite" than the "common man".

There is a great concern that the internet becomes like a sewer, just full of bad stuff

He noted to the Evening Standard that Street View has been subject to intense scrutiny by some in Germany, but remains a very popular service despite privacy criticism.

Schmidt also acknowledged worries that there was too much damaging or useless content on the internet, overwhelming users.

"There is a great concern that the internet becomes like a sewer, just full of bad stuff and the reason is that it is very easy to generate bad stuff," he said.

"But that's a ranking problem," he said. "So we should be able to help you understand which are the legitimate sources and which are the non-legitimate sources, using complex, very complex mathematical techniques involving signals, and pre-eminence, and the dominant conversation points."

"While we can't detect the truth in a moral sense, we can certainly come to what is a commonly held view - which will help," he added.

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