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Censorship Google The Internet The Media Businesses

Google Blacklists CNet Reporters 377

Posted by Zonk
from the no-talkie dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cnet News.com is reporting that Google is no longer talking to Cnet reporters. In an article about the search company looking for new executive chefs, the article states: 'Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.' Apparently, Google was angered by an article published earlier by Cnet where all sorts of personal information about Google CEO Eric Schmidt was included. The information was obtained from Google searches."
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Google Blacklists CNet Reporters

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  • by kekec (901056) on Friday August 05, 2005 @07:56AM (#13248589) Homepage
    Schmidt, 50, was worth an estimated $1.5 billion last year. Earlier this year, he pulled in almost $90 million from sales of Google stock and made at least another $50 million selling shares in the past two months as the stock leaped to more than $300 a share
  • Eric's Home Address (Score:5, Informative)

    by dsginter (104154) on Friday August 05, 2005 @08:10AM (#13248673)
    ZabaSearch [zabasearch.com]

    He's the first Eric E. Schmidt on zabasearch. The issue is that he needs to get over the fact that privacy does not exist, unless you accidentally fill out false Change of Address [usps.com] forms every month.
  • by sg3000 (87992) * <sg_public.mac@com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @08:39AM (#13248921)
    > You put it on the Internet and its fair game.

    And what if I didn't put it on the Internet? What if it was just email?

    What if, during the public comments period, I wrote a letter to the DOJ years ago regarding the suit against a large software company who was later found guilty of illegally abusing their monopoly. And the DOJ put all the comments on the Internet and now when someone Google's my name, it comes up. The company I now work for recently became a strategic partner with that very company, which could make things uncomfortable.

    What if I gave money to a politician running for president, and as part of a fundraiser, my name was attached with another two dozen people to an invitation. Then someone not associated with the campaign spammed a mailing list with that invitation, and it was posted on a public site as an example of spamming. Now when you Google my name, my name shows up as supporting that candidate. Not to mention looking in places like opensecrets.org.

    Why does this matter now? Well, if I start applying for jobs, one can quickly find quite a bit about in the 20 seconds it takes to Google my name. And some employers (even just a rogue HR person) may have a problem with supporting particular candidates or saying something negative about a powerful company.

    And we're seeing a worse trend. Earlier this year, the Bush administration, as many may recall, banned Kerry supporters from attending a non-partisian worldwide telecommunications forum:
    The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week's meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda. At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry's 2004 campaign. The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants.
    Only after the start of Bush's second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say.

    So, like in Russia years ago and in other countries, we can quickly move to the point where not having the "right" political beliefs (that is, not sharing the beliefs of whoever is in power) will result in losing your livelihood. As a result, people will stop expressing their political beliefs. And there are many powerful people who would love that to happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:31PM (#13251411)
    Yes. That's what the government does with the FOIA. The barrier to public information can be great if the government so chooses. It's information that is required to be public, but they don't really want it public... so they add fees and a bunch of catch-22s, along with a nearly infinite time frame. Only after taking the government agency to court can you sometimes get the information.

    Go work for a newspaper, you'll see how "free" the public record can be.
  • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @02:42PM (#13252812) Journal
    The correct answer if for e-mail programs to start including public key encryption as a feature. That WOULD render e-mail as private as a letter. IIRC, KMail has such a feature. Mozilla doesn't appear to, at least not by default. I don't know about Thunderbird. (Perhaps there are add-ons, but this really needs to be a default option.)

    Outlook Express had a PGP plugin in the 1990s to support signing and encryption and just about every email program today (certainly any remotely popular commercial one) supports public key signing/encrypting. Not sure what's there by default in Thunderbird, but there is the Enigmail [mozdev.org] plugin to support GnuPG.
     
  • by Sancho (17056) on Friday August 05, 2005 @05:51PM (#13254329) Homepage
    Censorship does not have to come from the government. It can come from anybody. A corporation can censor its employees--I, for example, am forbidden from making any comment about the inner workings of my employer to any news agency, lest I lose my job. That is censorship.

    It's nit-picking, but it's an important word and it's important to know that not only the government can censor. Google, however, is only censoring its own employees against talking to C|Net. They are not censoring C|Net itself, who is still free to do any news store on Google that they like, within the scope of the law.
  • Read more closely (Score:2, Informative)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Friday August 05, 2005 @06:18PM (#13254546)
    The article does not actually assert that Schmidt attended that fundraiser.

    He and his wife Wendy live in the affluent town of Atherton, Calif., where, at a $10,000-a-plate political fund-raiser five years ago, presidential candidate Al Gore and his wife Tipper danced as Elton John belted out "Bennie and the Jets."

    The detail of the fundraiser is relevant only to the town of Atherton in general, not to Schmidt and his wife specifically. And if you click through to the article about the fundraiser, you'll see that neither Schmidt nor his wife are mentioned.

    Including it produces a false association in readers' minds. That's either really tricky or really bad writing. I vote tricky--the author's point of view screams between the lines if you read carefully.
  • by GoogleGuy (754053) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:13PM (#13255627) Homepage
    "Nobody has proved what little factual information they [CNET] conveyed was false."
    Not so--CNET admits it themselves. If you read the article in question, CNET did correct false information from their original article. CNET added this disclaimer after they wrote the article:
    "Correction: The original article incorrectly implied that Google Desktop Search can track what's stored on a user's PC. The service does not expose a user's content to Google or anyone else without the user's explicit permission."
    I can see both sides of this issue; I just wanted to point out that CNET did imply incorrect things in their privacy article; points to them for adding the correction afterwards.

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