Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don't like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can "just move."
“Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN's “Parker Spitzer" late last week. “So, you can just move, right?”
Schmidt's words were broadcast across the net on Friday, but they've been edited from the video now available on the CNN website. Before it was edited out, the moment was reported by The Wall Street Journal.
After he unloaded that "just move" bit, there was an exchange between Schmidt and show cohost Kathleen Parker, and then Schmidt laughed. So, says The Journal, it's unclear whether the comment was meant as a joke.
In August, Schmidt famously told The Journal that every young person will be entitled to automatically change their names when they reach adulthood in order to escape all the embarrassing stuff they did on social networking sites. And though the paper said this claim was made "apparently seriously," Schmidt later told the satirical US news program The Colbert Report that the statement was "a joke."
On the CNN program, as he continued to discuss Street View, Schmidt added that “the important point is we only do it once” and that “this is not a monitoring situation.”
CNN tells AllThingsDigital that Google did not ask it to remove the Street View exchange. And Google released a statement to The Journal explaining Schmidt's words.
"The point Eric was making is that our Street View service provides only a static picture in time, and doesn’t provide real-time imagery or provide any information about where people are," the company said. "Of course, we also allow users to request that their home be removed from Street View.”
Earlier this month, Schmidt said that Google's policy is "to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it" — which was just the most prominent example of Schmidt getting right up to the creepy line and leaping across it with abandon. In December, Schmidt told CNBC that if you're concerned about Google retaining your personal data, then you must be doing something you shouldn't be doing. He later said much the same about internet anonymity. And more recently, he told a Washington audience: "We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”
During his CNN appearance, those last words were tossed back at Schmidt by Kathleen Parker and her fellow show host, former New York attorney general and governor Elliot Spitzer. Schmidt responded with a defense of the company's data-retention policies. As on The Colbert Show, Schmidt claimed that Google "forgets" your searches after a certain amount of time — but his discussion of Google's policies don't quite stand up to scrutiny, which only exacerbates the creepiness issue.
You can see Schmidt's (edited) appearance here:
"We keep the searches that you do for roughly a year, year and a half, and then we forget them," Schmidt told Parker and Spitzer. But according to official policy, Google erases the last octet of a user's IP address from its server logs after nine months, and it removes cookie data after 18 months with a one-way cryptographic hash. The policy was announced in the fall of 2008, and it was implemented sometime before November of 2009.