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Censorship Google The Internet The Media Businesses

Google Blacklists CNet Reporters 377

An anonymous reader writes "Cnet 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 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 stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Friday August 05, 2005 @08:56AM (#13248592) Homepage
    Google was angered by an article published earlier by Cnet where all sorts of personal information about Google CEO Eric Schmidt was included.

    You put it on the Internet and its fair game.

    Of course, there is a lot of our information on the Internet that we didn't put there, which is why we need better laws regarding dissemination of personal information.
  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @08:59AM (#13248604)
    Only two balls, but Right to Privacy and Freedom of Speech are awfully hard to juggle..
  • by Chaotic Spyder ( 896445 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:01AM (#13248618) Homepage
    That's true.. but just because the info is there and avl does not mean it needs to be published..
    It gives me the creepy vibe of a tabloid mag..
    Just feels immature that thay would do that...
  • by Percent Man ( 756972 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:01AM (#13248622) Homepage
    Okay, we all enjoy the self-righteous feeling of anger we get when we see the little man with his mouth taped over. But this doesn't qualify as "censorship" - it's a business decision taken by a publicly-held company, not Big Brother cracking down on what you can or cannot say.

    The government telling you you're not allowed to say certain things, under penalty of law: censorship.
    A company deciding it's not going to do business with another (in this case, a press) company: not censorship.
  • I can only agree. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:04AM (#13248634)
    I can only agree.

    There is private information, and there is public information - and everything that has been ever published is public, no matter how personal it may seem.

    You can't unspill water, and you should have no expection of everyone else hiding what already is public - Cnet cannot be faulted at all.

    Hey Google - what about your 'do no evil' ? Don't become so hypocritical - it won't benefit you.
  • by beavis88 ( 25983 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:04AM (#13248636)
    Well, the end of Google as a "do no evil" company, anyway. With that many damn cooks in the kitchen, it's only a matter of time (IMNSHO) before someone spoils the recipe.
  • by Halo- ( 175936 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:07AM (#13248652)
    I have to say I side with Google on this one. Google simply indexes information. It's not possible (or desirable) for them to filter and screen the content of what they index.

    Yes, you can use Google to track down a distressing amount of personal information about some people, but this is a function of the information being made available by third parties. Google just makes it easier to find all these sources quickly.

    People that gripe about (or sue) Google based on their indexing "bad" things, need to step back and think of the Web as more of a library, with each page as a book. Google serves as a card catalog, helping you find the books that have the information you are interested in. If somebody goes to the library and looks up a bunch of personal information on you (which is possible, just slower) you don't get mad at the makers of the card catalog. Your anger should be directed first at the person who singled you out. Next, if the books contain something which shouldn't be public (unlike major stock sales, and other things from the article, which should be public) you ought to take it up with the author/publisher of the books.

    cNet took a cheap shot at Google, and did it in a fairly childish way. The point they were trying to make is both obvious, and better made in a more mature fashion. That being said, I don't exactly think Google's response is "mature", but if they want to respond in kind, I don't blame them.

  • by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:09AM (#13248662) Homepage
    Huh? Why? Because they decided not to talk to CNet anymore? Tough for CNet, but there's no legal or even moral obligation for them to do so.

    Whether it's justified or not is another matter, but I think you're blowing the issue a bit out of proportion if you proclaim that this is the end of them being (or trying to be) the "good" guys.
  • by Crapshoot ( 880704 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:12AM (#13248682)
    It isn't, but that's a simplistic understanding that seems to be beyond many. Google can do what it wants - no harm, no foul here.
  • by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:12AM (#13248687)

    There are a great number of things one can do, that are not necessarily what one should do. There are even many both easy and legal things one can do that are ethically reprehensible.

    I see no hypocrisy in Google's actions. Why deal with a group of people who have demonstrated they have no scruples?

  • by aug24 ( 38229 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:13AM (#13248689) Homepage
    There's an issue for me in putting private information that could be found if someone actually looked for it onto a forum that thousands of people read (even if they only read it cos they don't know any better).

    That's why journos have codes of conduct. Because it may not be illegal and it may not be that hard to do, but it can still be wrong.


  • Not reasonable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:13AM (#13248693)
    Sorry, Eric, but 'privacy' isn't the issue here. All the information Cnet obtained about you was freely available on the Web, and you have no reasonable expectation of privacy there.

    Can't agree there. There's public, obscure information that wouldn't occur to anyone to search for, and then there's nicely packaged, published information. Prior to publication, few people knew, and after, many did.

    Yes it's security through obscurity - but since it's absolutely impossible to get actual identity security, that's all we have these days.

    Also note that the slashdot crowd went nuts when O'Gara did this to Pamela Jones.

    Also, Google's not suing - they're punishing cNet for playing dirty. If CNet expected a different response from the article, they're retarded. If they don't want to talk to someone since they did something that wasn't nice, that's their right.

  • by pairo ( 519657 ) <> on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:16AM (#13248717) Homepage
    It already _was_ published, on the Intarweb! The fact that they spent the time to gather it doesn't make them immature. Nor a tabloid.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:18AM (#13248724)
    "No one has any obligation to talk with any member of the press, period."

    Maybe with one notable exeption: governments. If governments would start to favor certain newspapers and blacklisting others, it would be highly inappropriate.
  • by suzerain ( 245705 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:23AM (#13248754) Homepage

    ...uh...they didn't really list anything 'personal' about the CEO at all. He lives somewhere, he makes money, he attended a political fundraiser. None of that is particularly private information, unless my expectations of 'privacy' are really skewed.

    So, I guess Google is really being the asshole here.

    The thing that the article is pointing out -- rightly -- is that Google appears to be on the road toward becoming a major information clearinghouse. And the information is, rather than most similar things, information about everything. They have manifested a desire to aggregate this knowledge and use it in certain ways (i.e., targeted ads by reading the content of your email), and for now they are behaving as a 'good netizen'.

    The thing is, as soon as these two idealistic PhD guys get fed up and cash in and decide to buy an island in the South Pacific and go live there, I fear that so will go Google's ethos of being the good guy, and the marketing weasels and fucking lawyers schmucks will pervert Google amazing technology to do some Seriously Evil Shit (tm).

    It's really just a matter of time...

  • by pairo ( 519657 ) <> on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:32AM (#13248821) Homepage
    Sued them? On what grounds? "Using our services for things we don't approve of!" is not something that will win you any lawsuit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:35AM (#13248856)
    Yup there is a lot out there.

    Like you name (which you make public)
    Nathan Stine.

    Your address,
    121 N. Maple Ave.
    Cincinnati Ohio

    Your phone number

    Your birthday:

    You attend Wright State University in Dayton but seeing as you are originally from Ohio it can be inferred that you have not traveled far from home in your meager 21 years.

    You are still a college student and from a working class family. You are resentful at those who have money because they could afford a better secondary education, which you could not afford as you paying for your education largely by yourself via federal loans and grants.

    You like to involve yourself in political discussion about world issues yet get all your facts from sources that are just as bias as the sources the right wing people you enjoy calling "idiotic" get their facts from.

    You are a pseudo-intellectual and like to quote Voltaire.

    See, all sorts of info is easily obtainable from web. And all this in just the pass 15 minutes. Imagine if I put a little effort into it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:38AM (#13248896) []

    seriously folks, most people on slashdot have such a congnitive dissonance going with regards to Google that there would be 500 posts defending Google if somehow the corporation itself were caught in bed with a dead, 14 year old hooker and a bag full of colombian flake.

    just because Google isn't microsoft is no reason to automatically assume Google is some sort of deity.

    in fact, why do you people have this innate longing to fall in love with ANY company? they sell TEXT ADS, PEOPLE. none of their other products has ever made a dime. those "geek" products are nothing more than the mafia boss giving large donations to the local little league team or fireman's retirement fund. it's called public relations.

  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#13248971) Homepage
    So CNN finds out you may have done something bad and would upset other people, so they publish your name, phone number, address, work address, and information about your SO.

    Just because some of this can be looked up in a phonebook doesn't mean CNN should be reporting on that part of it.
  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @09:49AM (#13249061) Homepage Journal
    but just because the info is there and avl does not mean it needs to be published..

    The information has already been published on the WWW; this is how Google indexed it.

  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:21AM (#13249431) Homepage
    Google currently has a wildly-inflated stock price that's in large part been supported by a fawning press. Therefore severe discipline of the press is called for when it doesn't fawn, in order to maintain and build further the unrealistic market valuation that will allow CEO Schmidt to increase his personal wealth beyond a mere 1.5 billion.

    The other stockholders also depend on Google to "earn" them more by manipulating the press. Thus it would be a breach of Google's fiduciary responsibility to fail to do so.
  • by IpalindromeI ( 515070 ) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:27AM (#13249501) Journal
    Well, if a newspaper reports something that you don't like, then I do not consider breaking ties with that newspaper as ethical.

    You're saying that you've never decided to break ties with someone because they did something you didn't like? That's almost the only reason you do break ties with someone. Why should Google continue to associate with them if they don't like them?
  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:51AM (#13249799) Homepage
    Are you arguing that such information should be available to the public, but only if they work hard at it?

    I'm confused.
  • Re:RTA - It's good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by z4ce ( 67861 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:23AM (#13250121)
    Have you read their IPO filing with SEC? They specifically state following 'do no evil' will lead to long term gains. They will not be influenced by near-term shareholder value.

    So not only do they plan on doing no evil in search, they also plan on doing no evil financially (i.e. maximizing current profit over long term). Certainly, it would NOT maximize shareholder value in the long run to 'do evil'.

    The most successful companies in history have had similiar policies. For example, Wal-Mart has always advocated continually dropping prices, regardless of current profit maximization. In the long term, this maximizes profits by keeping their market penetration and fostering a culture of cost-cutting.
  • by HEbGb ( 6544 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:41AM (#13250322)
    It *is* the point. Yeah, no one is going to point a gun at Google execs and force them to interview, but no one is claiming that.

    The point is, Google is throwing a hissy-fit after someone demonstrated how their own service "invaded" their CEO's privacy. It's an excellent article, and an excellent example. Google is being completely asinine about it, which is very amusing.
  • by aeoo ( 568706 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:51AM (#13250435) Journal
    In reality we are governed far more by economical considerations than by political considerations. It stands to reason that to the extent that economy governs our lives, it should be democratized.

    Considering that the government is slowly moving into irrelevance and that the coprs are fast becoming like local kings and dukes, the actions they make become less and less like those of private individuals and more and more like those of governments (and I am including monarchy and fascism as types of government).

    So, it's not a big stretch to call "censorship" what some corps do with the information. This is particularly true of news media.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:06PM (#13250590)

    And it's not as though Google is the only company asking Web surfers to make that leap, said Danny Sullivan editor of Search Engine Watch. "Overall, the issues with Google are not any different from the issues you have with Yahoo, Microsoft and others. They tend to get singled out, and unfairly, in my view," Sullivan said. "They're the biggest, and they make a big target for someone to take a swing at. It's not that the issues are not important. It's that they are applicable to the search industry" as a whole.

    This is, I think, the crux of the article. The real worry is not that Google's "innovative" search engine somehow has the monopoly on invading people's private information -- Microsoft, Yahoo, et al. all have a vast amount of users' information. The real worry is that Google, along with having a lot of different services now that users are using in conjunction with one another, is just so damn popular. The fact of the matter is that it is Google's popularity that is causing users to flock to it, and as a result, more of the users' information is out there on Google. If Yahoo were as popular as Google, the CNet article would be about them, considering that Yahoo offers pretty much all the same services as Google.
  • Re:Pick and choose (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TorKlingberg ( 599697 ) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:13PM (#13250668)
    Seriously. When did anyone have an obligation to do an interview?
    Of course they don't. If they did have such an obligation, this would be a court case and not just a /. discussion.

    Still, I consider it a problem when large corporations use their power to control what the media writes.

  • by richards1052 ( 906214 ) <> on Tuesday August 09, 2005 @04:37AM (#13276839) Homepage
    No, it's not "censorship" but it is churlish, small-minded, petty and a bad business decision. OTher than that, it's great. We have another example of someone who similarly totes up black marks against those who are good or bad for his company & its interests & who never forgets a slight: that man is Bill Gates. Does Schmidt want to become as thin-skinned as Gates? If I were Schmidt I wouldn't want to go that route.

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