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Mozilla Director Derides Google, Promotes Bing

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments

A Director at the Mozilla Foundation praised Microsoft's Bing and says the decision making engine offers more in terms of privacy than Google.

A lot of people recoiled when Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the folks at CNBC, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Schmidt continued on to state that in the United States we are all subject to the Patriot Act and it is possible that information stored could be made available to the authorities. However, many people (including some of us here in the "office") had a problem with Schmidt's comment.

Among the troubled is Asa Dotzler, Director of Community Development at Mozilla. Dotzler yesterday highlighted Schmidt's comments in his personal blog, warning readers, "That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy." Dotzler assured readers that the block quote he had included in his short blog post was not taken out of context and encouraged users to watch the video themselves before switching Firefox's search engine from Google to Bing. "Yes, Bing does have a better privacy policy than Google."

Interestingly enough, as Valley Wag points out, it was Schmidt who blacklisted CNet reporters for a full year because of a story highlighting privacy concerns. The story shared several nuggets of information about Schmidt that CNet had gleaned from Google searches. These included salary, neighborhood, hobbies and political donations.

Check out the video of Eric Schmidt on CNBC below.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on privacy

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  • 25 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 3:09 PM
    Does this mean that the next FireFox update will have Bing as the Home Page?
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 3:28 PM
    His answer seemed truthful and as if it applied to all companies operating in the U.S. So am I missing something or should he simply have been more political and lied?
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 3:09 PM
    Does this mean that the next FireFox update will have Bing as the Home Page?
  • 5 Hide
    pooflinger1 , December 11, 2009 3:11 PM
    Interesting. Mozilla condemns Microsoft on one hand for its inclusion of IE with Windows, and now they go just short of praising them for their efforts in protecting your privacy. Perhaps Mozilla is just telling it how it is, or perhaps there's a behind the scenes motive.... Perhaps Google Chrome is threat than IE and this is their way of combating that threat.
  • 6 Hide
    wildwell , December 11, 2009 3:16 PM
    Renegade_WarriorDoes this mean that the next FireFox update will have Bing as the Home Page?

    I was think that exact same thing.
  • 5 Hide
    cryogenic , December 11, 2009 3:19 PM
    Google search engine: keeps records about you!
    Other search engines: don't keep records.

    Is your online privacy important? For me, not really, I don't do things that I'm shouldn't do in the first place, but I still feel uncomfortable with Google's politics.

    Let's say I follow some links on some political blogs, and do some research to debate some sensitive topics, then I accidentally open some legally ambiguous sites. Does that mean the authorities could knock on my door just by looking at some Google logs, without having any context information on how I ended up on those sites ? I doubt this will ever happen to me, but someone innocent will get screwed sooner or later ... As for those that are suspected by authorities, they deserve to be tracked, but I don't see the point in tracking "everyone" online.



  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 3:28 PM
    His answer seemed truthful and as if it applied to all companies operating in the U.S. So am I missing something or should he simply have been more political and lied?
  • 8 Hide
    SAL-e , December 11, 2009 3:50 PM
    BeschHis answer seemed truthful and as if it applied to all companies operating in the U.S. So am I missing something or should he simply have been more political and lied?

    Agree. Just because Bing has better written policy does not mean that if Feds knock on their doors they will not help them track you. Just like AT&T and Verizon assisted US government in warrant-less spying on all Americans. When people try to sue them they got nice protection from Washington by law that granted them an immunity.
  • 4 Hide
    Vestin , December 11, 2009 3:51 PM
    BeschHis answer seemed truthful and as if it applied to all companies operating in the U.S. So am I missing something or should he simply have been more political and lied?

    AFAIK - you're right. He simply stated the unpleasant (for some) truth. Maybe he hasn't stressed enough that your information will be ONLY shared with the authorities and ONLY when you commit a crime. As such - I don't see it as a big deal. If you commit a crime IRL, you don't usually expect people to simply pretend nothing happened, right ?

    tl;dr: I trust Google.
  • 2 Hide
    Vestin , December 11, 2009 4:03 PM
    It just occurred to me - since today, Chrome has its own ADBlock or two... This was probably the only thing that made me hesitate to switch from Firefox.
    Perhaps the guys and gals at Mozilla are simply afraid that people might be curious enough to switch to Chrome with extensions... and never come back ]:> ?
  • 0 Hide
    deathblooms2k1 , December 11, 2009 4:09 PM
    I don't see how this is anything new. Googles cost of free is they own your information and can do what the please with it. They don't deny this it's written clearly in their policy's.
  • 5 Hide
    sunflier , December 11, 2009 4:27 PM
    I like Google as a search engine (who doesn't?).

    But I despise Google bigwig policies and intrusive measures.

    Quote:
    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

    BS!! I bet he wouldn't be saying that if it were him or his family.
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , December 11, 2009 4:36 PM
    Interesting developement
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 4:48 PM
    Like Microsoft is in the business of protecting users data, hope they aren't using their clouds that had to be rebuilt carefully 1 drive at a time LMAO!
  • -4 Hide
    Jenoin , December 11, 2009 4:56 PM
    Unless you send all your web traffic through an onion skin routerthen he is absolutely right. Sorry it wasn't sugarcoated for all the people who don't understand how the internet works. The only information that you can reasonably expect to keep hidden is the stuff that is sent encrypted, this typically does not include searches or most web browsing. Even when accessing encrypted sites (banks, shopping) the addresses or sites visited are still fairly easy to determine even if the information shared (card numbers, passwords, emails) is not. This has nothing to do with search engines or specific browsers or sites, it is a byproduct of how the internet works. I guess if people want to get away with their kiddie porn they'll just have to do it off the internet or run the risk of getting caught. I'm all for them getting caught.
  • 0 Hide
    sciencectn , December 11, 2009 5:22 PM
    Google and Microsoft both refused repeatedly when the government wanted their index data, so in terms of privacy they're doing the best they can (however, Microsoft's recent cloud crash doesn't help their case much).

    It seems people always criticize Google for privacy because they're all too aware of what information they're submitting to Google, and Google is open on what information it collects. Yet, we don't realize how much information is gathered about us without our knowing. Web servers always keep logs of IPs that visit. The NSA can snoop on your internet communications if it wants to. The FBI can packet sniff email. Those warranty cards or other forms you submit with your personal information often end up in the hands of data miners, where it is sold to anyone who wants the information.

    Eric Schmidt is right. Unless you do have something to hide, stop worrying about your privacy. Google couldn't care less what your favorite song is or that you don't know how to spell something.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2009 5:24 PM
    Don't see a problem with any of it. Nothing is free. If you hit my servers I do keep track of it. If I could figure out how to profit from it I would.
  • 0 Hide
    DaveUK , December 11, 2009 5:53 PM
    It is quite clear that this article - and indeed the Mozilla director - missed the point of Eric Schmidt's comments. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place", and references to the USA PATRIOT act and authorities, should make it clear to anyone who values intelligence over scare-mongering that he is referring to illegal activity that would be relevant to these authorities. Perhaps I should expand the USA PATRIOT act, 'Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001'. Key Word: Terrorism. Now, Eric Schmidt has quite clearly said in this clip that if you make information available online that is relevant to the USA PATRIOT act then this may be retained by Google and passed to the authorities, and yet Asa Dotzler - and this article - and indeed some of the subsequent comment posters - have someone come to conclusion that this is somehow an affront to the privacy of every day google users. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. As far as I'm concerned, search engines should have a responsibility to collate information of this nature. If you're doing nothing wrong, then Eric's comments, and googles policy, should be completely irrelevant to you.
  • 1 Hide
    DarkMantle , December 11, 2009 6:07 PM
    CryogenicGoogle search engine: keeps records about you!Other search engines: don't keep records.


    You probably didn't saw this then:
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Yahoo-Document-Spying-Law-Policies,news-5281.html
    Just read that .PDF from yahoo, you will be shocked... or maybe not XD.
  • 0 Hide
    lejay , December 11, 2009 6:55 PM
    Sooo... Iranians shouldn't rebel, Moroccans shouldn't be gay and I shouldn't masturbate to a picture of Elisha Cuthbert.

    Thank you Google, what a wonderful world.
  • 0 Hide
    stm1185 , December 11, 2009 7:07 PM
    Microsoft is now the person you trust to guard your activities from big brother. To think it was only a few years ago when they were the evil empire; now Google has taken the crown.
  • 0 Hide
    zerapio , December 11, 2009 10:20 PM
    vestinAFAIK - you're right. He simply stated the unpleasant (for some) truth. Maybe he hasn't stressed enough that your information will be ONLY shared with the authorities and ONLY when you commit a crime. As such - I don't see it as a big deal. If you commit a crime IRL, you don't usually expect people to simply pretend nothing happened, right ?tl;dr: I trust Google.

    Don't be that naive. Yes, in theory if you're clean you have nothing to fear. The reality is people with power abuse it. It's been like that forever and it won't change. The solution is control the amount of power we, the citizens, give the authorities. You only have to be a suspect of something for the authorities to request the information. Under that umbrella EVERYONE can be a suspect. I agree with other commentators that Google may not be worse than the rest but an explicit privacy policy helps make things clear.
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