Thursday, April 15, 2004

Sauce for the Google

With all the world and their mother (see previous story about CA state senator Liz Figueroa) up in arms about the privacy implications of Google's Gmail why aren't these same protectors of individual rights up in arms about Amazon's new A9 search service? A9 (which is, ironically, built on top of Google's search engine) requires that you log in then tracks your queries so it can "customize" your search results. So not only does Amazon know what you read it will now know what terms you search for and (presumably) which sites you visit from the results page!

Google has said they won't have humans reading the Gmail and I believe them. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, is an honorable man. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, is the guy who thought he couldn't patent every bit of web technology he used - or thought about using. I wouldn't trust the man to walk behind me, never mind to safeguard my whimsical searches.

But it is curious why the usual suspects (Larry Lessig, Dan Gilmore why haven't you chimed in on this?) ignore the anti-privacy implications of A9.

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