Privacy Comments By Google Boss Irk Mozilla Founder

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s rant concerning privacy concerns has prompted one of the founders of Firefox to urge users to switch to Bing

The co-founder of the original Firefox project has taken exception to the privacy comments made by Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, and has urged Firefox users to switch their browser search from Google to Bing.

In an interview on CNBC last Sunday, Schmidt said users who are concerned over Google retaining personal data must be guilty of unsuitable behaviour. A video of the interview is available here and here.

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” said Schmidt in the interview. “If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines – including Google – do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.”

However his comments have not gone down well in some circles. Asa Dotzler is a co-founder of the Firefox project and is currently the community co-ordinator for several Mozilla projects.

On his personal blog, Dotzler made clear his distaste of Schmidt’s comments.

“That was Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, telling you exactly what he thinks about your privacy. There is no ambiguity, no “out of context” here,” Dotzler wrote.

Dotzler then included a link that will allow Firefox users to ‘easily switch Firefox’s search from Google to Bing.’

“Yes, Bing does have a better privacy policy than Google,” Dotzler wrote.

“I think that the thing that bothers me most about Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s comment is that it makes clear that he simply doesn’t understand privacy,” Dotzler wrote later that day. “That a company with so much user data on its servers is led by someone who just doesn’t understand privacy is really scary to me and it should be scary to you as well.”