Google Needs A New Mantra

Remember Google’s “don’t be evil” mantra? Nowadays, when mentioned in the media, it is usually accompanied by more than a few grains of salt, sometimes topped off with a pinch of irony. Does the company deserve this treatment? Although Google has been through its share of disputes and has made a few blunders along the way (such as storing data sent by private WiFi networks; almost surely an accident^), these could just be the growing pains that come naturally during such a firm’s evolution. We’re riding a technological behemoth into an age of explosive scientific advancement, but such a creature is surely bound to cause a few wrinkles on the fabric of our civilization.

Google has been losing some of its fans lately and this includes some influential journalists. PR was never one of the Internet giant’s strong points, nor did it ever seem to want it to be. Even though “don’t be evil” is a beautiful principle and should definitely stay close to the company’s core, I’m going to suggest an addendum to that. One that, I will argue, fits Google’s actions and, if properly introduced in the media, would serve as a very welcome image boost. But first, let’s cover a few important facts about the company’s past and present. Then, we’ll get to seeing how the addendum I propose makes sense.

The Case for Privacy

When about two weeks ago, CIA director David Petraeus made the admission about the agency’s interest^ in spying on people using the ever-increasing array of “smart” appliances in our homes, it became clearer than ever that one of the greatest battle to be fought these years will be the battle for our personal data.

And when you find out about how applications such as “Girls Around Me” use publicly shared data^ to put espionage in the hands of potential rapists, you can’t help but wonder what’s next. What can we do to reclaim our privacy? Do we even need to do something? Why does all of this matter so much? Let’s try and answer these questions…