RYSSDAL: And what about those people who say, “I don’t want my cell phone targeting advertising at me when I walk by a restaurant that it thinks I will like. And I don’t want the company knowing all this stuff about me.”
SCHMIDT: Turns out that about ten percent of the people feel that way and those are people who will get their products in other ways. So they’ll pay for subscription for information rather than having advertising and they’ll be careful not to let other people use their information. Most people are happy to have personal information used in ways that provide value for advertising because advertising by the way, is value in and of itself especially when it’s targeted.
RYSSDAL: Happy if we can be sure that our privacy is being respected.
SCHMIDT: Absolutely. And there are clearly regulations on the books today globally that reflect this and I suspect there will be more in the future. And our company makes a commitment to people to respect people’s privacy and their personal information because it’s central to the trust that we have with end users.
RYSSDAL: We had a guy on this segment a couple of years ago, Scott McNealy from Sun Microsystems, who very famously has been quoted as saying and said it to us, “You have no privacy. Get over it.”
SCHMIDT: Yeah, the actual quote was, “You have no privacy, get over it.”
RYSSDAL: Right. What do you think about that?
SCHMIDT: If that’s true, then I think it’s a real loss because we benefit as individuals from some privacy. I don’t think anyone wants everything revealed. That’s why we have doors and shades and so forth. When you talk however about the way society works, we benefit from open access and transparency. So when we talk about privacy, I’m very strongly in favor of an individuals right of privacy but I’m very suspicious about Governments for example, that assert a right of privacy. You’re better off with a Government that is more transparent about what it’s doing and what it’s up to.
RYSSDAL: So in some way, we’re just going to have to get used to that . . . this issue that this information is out there.
SCHMIDT: Well partly people will adapt. The most interesting question to me is you have a generation now that is growing up on Facebook where they’re putting up information about themselves that they might regret twenty years from now.