Privacy and Google Desktop

This USA Today article by Jefferson Graham pushes the privacy angle: "will/should consumers be fearful of the privacy issues" associated with the new "search across computers" feature of Google Desktop?

I spoke to Graham about this late yesterday and told him that I felt Google was being more sensitive to privacy concerns this time around than it has been in the past.

I also told him I felt that how the issue is presented to consumers — much like a political survey — will determine how consumers react.

For example, when Americans are asked about whether they are comfortable with Bush’s wiretapping program directed at American citizens, a majority say "no." But with the more Orwellian spin of the Bush handlers — "terrorist surveillance program" — people are more inclined to support the illicit operation.

In my view, the real concern with all the recent Internet privacy debate swirling around Google is not whether the company has my data on its servers as much as who can access that data through Google (i.e., the government). But unless that question is definitively resolved in favor of individual privacy there may not be a practical difference.

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