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The Irresponsibility of Google's 'Publicacy' Mission -- claims another innocent bystander -- United Airlines

Can you trust Google to responsibly exercise its power? Google's crusade to make all information accessible -- no matter what -- has indiscriminately mowed down another innocent bystander.

  • United Airlines stock value lost three quarters of its value on Monday ravaging spooked UAL shareholders.
  • Google's Googlebot 'crawlers' mistook a 2002 article about UAL's 2002 bankruptcy -- as a new and current story -- which when wrongly spread efficiently by GoogleNews alerts to everyone interested in United Airlines, freaked out current shareholders who dumped all their stock. Oops. Ouch. But no apology from Google...  
    • Two good Wall Street Journal stories yesterday and today explain Google's culpability in this disaster for UAL pretty well. 
    • This is a stark reminder, that anything that a Googlebot can crawl, it will make public. It will leave no digital rock unturned to find whatever is under a rock -- never mind if it was hidden for good reason, privacy, security, ownership -- Googlebot say "finders keepers losers weepers."

This latest UAL incident highlights a clear pattern of Google's 'publicacy' philosophy that any information Google can find, copy or photograph -- it should put immediately into the public domain whether it is accurate information, private unauthorized information, or information owned/copyrighted by others.  

  • Other examples of this 'publicacy' philosophy in action:
    • A picture of a person's House with the contents exposed through the window -- made public with Google's Streetview.
    • Sensitive pictures exposed by Google Earth include rooftop pictures of the White House and images of Israel that made it easier for terrorists to launch terrorist attacks against civilians.

    In my House Internet subcommittee testimony on privacy this past July I introduced the new term 'publicacy' to describe the antithesis of privacy -- or Google's mission and philosophy.

    The relevant excerpt ion 'publicacy' is found below:  

    "Google’s megalomaniacal “ mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful.”



    Google’s mission is so uniquely antithetical to privacy – it actually warrants

    the creation of a new term: “publicacy.” 

    Google’s unique and radical “publicacy” mission believes “the world’s information,” is, and should be public not private. (Note the mission statement puts no qualifier on “information” other than “the world’s.”)


    The fact that most of the world’s most valuable information is copyrighted or owned by




    he fact that much of the world’s information is also private, or enables privacy because

    it is not easily accessible publicly by anyone, hasn’t stopped Google from trying to make


    private information publicly accessible. The business reason for this is that Google

    knows that the most valuable information is private (scarce) information that was not

    available before. Google also knows that its competitive advantage is its world-leading

    “database of user intentions,” i.e. search histories on several hundred million Google

    users worldwide. Google also understands that it can earn a premium because it knows

    more private information on users’ intentions, preferences and secrets than any other

    company in the world – by far. Simply, Google’s business edge is that it collects, stores

    and uses more private information than any other entity in existence, which enables it to

    “target” “relevant” advertising better than anyone else.

    The fact that Google’s web “crawlers” are the world’s most pervasive and invasive,

    Google indiscriminately searches websites for whatever it can find, and automatically

    assumes if their crawlers can find it, it must be “public” information. This indiscriminate

    web crawling has resulted in Google exposing private information like social security

    numbers, as Google did in making hundreds of California university students’ social

    security numbers public -- as reported by the Sacramento Bee (3-7-07.)"


    hasn’t stopped Google from making other’s property universally available –

    without permission or compensation. As a result, several different content industries are

    suing Google for theft. Google supports radical copyright reform to remake the Internet

    into a less-propertied, “information commons” where most all content is free to the user

    and supported by Internet advertising -- the business that Google dominates.