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Uncle Sugar Says What Happens at Burning Man Stays at Burning Man

May 19, 2014

John Paczkowski writes at Re/code that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt (or as we know him, Uncle Sugar) suggests that when it comes to the European Court of Justice’s “right to be forgotten” ruling, Mr. Schmidt wants to have it both ways.  (Selective Memory: Eric Schmidt and the Right to Be Forgotten).  Shocking, I know.

Commenting on the European Court of Justice’s “right to be forgotten” ruling last week, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said it struck the “wrong balance” between privacy and free speech. An interesting take, given Schmidt’s own efforts to have certain personal information forgotten online. In 2005, Google blackballed CNET’s News.com for a year after the outlet published some publicly available material on him gathered with a few simple Google searches.

Now this CNET story is an interesting point.  I was working a lot in Silicon Valley at the time and the rumor that I heard about the CNET blackballing wasn’t quite so matter of fact.  Apparently, the “publicly available material on him gathered with a few simple Google searches” involved real estate.  Real estate owned by Mr. Schmidt and occupied by…let’s say someone who was not a family member.  And there was the story about stock options for the corporate chefs.  Hashtag creepy.

Andrew Orlowski noted at the time:

“Like so many other Google users, his virtual life has been meticulously recorded,” wrote [Elinor] Mills. Since Schmidt is on the public record with a promise to build “a Google that knows more about you”, he’s hardly in a position to complain when his company is demonstrated to be functioning as designed.

And then there’s Mr. Schmidt’s support for the Burning Man festival that he apparently attended with one of his then-mistresses:

As The Daily Mail put it “The £5.4billion Google love rat: How boss, 58, of internet giant resisting online porn crackdown has a string of exotic lovers in his ‘open marriage’… but DOESN’T want you to know about it.”

Love the Brits.  Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em.
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