Blogoscoped quotes Google executives on the issue of privacy.
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Eric goes on to say, “But 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’re all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act… it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.”
“I really feel that the virtual world follows the physical world … There’s very few things you can do anonymously in the physical world. I think that over time, on the internet, there will be less anonymity. And I actually think that’s good; I think it creates, you know, more accountability, people acting more responsibly.”
And here is a quote from law #9 – Absolute anonymity isn’t practical, in real life or on the Web – from Microsoft’s own 10 immutable laws of security:
All human interaction involves exchanging data of some kind. If someone weaves enough of that data together, they can identify you. Think about all the information that a person can glean in just a short conversation with you. In one glance, they can gauge your height, weight, and approximate age. Your accent will probably tell them what country you’re from, and may even tell them what region of the country. If you talk about anything other than the weather, you’ll probably tell them something about your family, your interests, where you live, and what you do for a living. It doesn’t take long for someone to collect enough information to figure out who you are. If you crave absolute anonymity, your best bet is to live in a cave and shun all human contact.