I’m not speaking on behalf of Google but

To the Google employee who is slagging me and my blog off in private emails and is continuing to harass me after I asked you NOT to contact me anymore, below is space for your right of reply but just a few notes for you and your colleagues:

Attention all Google employees who are apparently pissed off that I slagged off their company on the Marian Finnucane show last weekend. I will not indulge or entertain your demands for me to justify what I said in private when you and your company don’t have the balls to come on the radio and answer questions. You’ll happily go on to talk marketing bullshit but it seems when it comes to anything challenging, you need to seriously control the debate or you won’t go on.

If you can’t challenge me in public because of your company’s policy on being more secretive than the NSA then don’t skulk around in the shadows putting questions to me and calling my answer lame if I tell you to kindly piss off. You signed up for the company and their rules, live with it.

The same of course goes for Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and everyone else I have a dig off. (There are loads). Of course when I’ve taken shots at companies before I’ve actually had people contact me and explain their side and they’ve done it officially and without the confrontational attitude.

If Google of course would like to have a public debate about their ability to totally fuck over your life if they abuse their technology, then let me know. I think it would be good for the tinfoil hat wearers like myself, the quite balanced people in DRI and the Google lfanboys to get all of this out in the open.

39 Responses to “I’m not speaking on behalf of Google but”

  1. Aido says:

    You could really destroy their soul by publishing the email – of course they wouldn’t be talking on behalf of Google now would they.

  2. Brian Greene says:

    I can’t understand why radio shows let companies/Gov off the hook when it comes to lame excuses of there being no spokespersons available. Really think newsnight and New Labour…!

    I was critical of RTE to pick both TJ & Damien, you cover the same ground and having two of ye and no Google hardly made it more balanced. this is not a complaint at you Damien or TJ.

    Google should have attended come what may, no point in hiding… Im sure they have very skilled PR people ready to pounce so the fact that they do not have one available leads me to think they don’t want to be on radio in a debate or they need some new hires.

    The fact that only one Irish journalist has written about google taxation in Ireland re patents in the daily news print (unless you did Damien since I fed you some background) leaves me thinking that nobody but the US tax system cared how much they were gaining by being here.

    i do not work for google I don’t own stock in the company and the corp tax rate here is a joke.

  3. I wonder what Google employees feel about the Economist cover story on the company’s protection of personal privacy. There are very live wires dangling out of the BigTable and if they start connecting to State agencies with no warning to the little guy, we have problems worth serious amounts of commentary and criticism beyond an Irish chat show.

  4. Branedy says:

    They just don’t want to release details of their operating system / database file system they are developing in their GPU derived linux search engine development.

    How sticky are your bits?

  5. Google does have the power to screw over your life — but a better question is “will they”? If they “abuse their technology” to screw you over, that would be the dumbest move any company has ever made, and it would certainly be the end of the company.

    Do you have credit cards, social security number, or a phone? Have you ever bought anything from best buy? All those respective bodies have your personal information, and what do you know about their privacy practices?

    At least with Google, I have pretty good idea about where my data is, and them being under such a magnifying glass with regards to privacy can only help keep my data safe.

  6. Put up their email and give us a look.

  7. Brian Mc says:

    Got a link to the mp3/stream?

  8. Georgie says:

    Is a recording of the radio show online?

  9. Col says:

    Can Damien’s email buddies give me a dig out with the following?


    I haven’t a bleedin’ notion.


  10. Damien says:

    @Garett Rogers: You know where your Google data is stored? Do you know where mine is stored?

  11. Damien says:

    Also @Garett Rogers if the sole reason for not fucking me over is a commercial reason, then it is the wrong reason. Google shouldn’t have the power to have that potential while pointing at their “Do No Evil” lapel badge

  12. Joanne says:

    Damien – how do you know the person who is slagging you off is actually a Google employee?

    If what you are saying is true, why don’t you forward the emails – including headers – to Google? I’m sure they would take a very dim view of an employee “representing” them like that.

  13. Alastair says:

    I think the text faded off that badge a long time ago Damien.

  14. Fergal Daly says:

    Hello again Damien. For the record, you actually did ask me to contact you, you in fact asked me to “sign” your blog but since I couldn’t figure out a way to do that (besides adding a comment to something completely off-topic) I had to “harass” you again and ask you to start a thread on your blog. Which you have done.

    As for me speaking for or not for Google, it doesn’t really matter. Since I am not expressing an opinion, simply asking you a question, my employment status should not be a barrier to a straight answer.

    You said on the radio (2 minutes into the piece) that Google is

    telling commercial companies and possibly officials “now I can’t tell you the name of the person but I can tell you a person that resides here is doing this and doing this”.

    Really? Do you have details?

    As for all the rest of your post, I will not comment. In fact I’m hesitant to post even this as I am certainly not qualified to represent Google in public but you were not willing to answer my question in private. Please do not expect me to engage in any debate about the goodness or badness of Google.

  15. I know that it’s stored behind Google’s doors, and that should be good enough for anyone. Like I said, with Google being under the microsocope, that’s probably the safest place for it. Personal information that Google doesn’t control is scattered around so many places it would be impossible to track down.

    Besides, what information does Google have that it can truly screw you over with? If you don’t want Google to have something, don’t give it to them. Last I checked, Google doesn’t ask for your SSN when you sign up.

    Why is a commercial reason not good enough? I’d say that’s a very good reason. Every company has the power and potential to see and use the information you have given them — how is Google any different in that regard?

  16. Kevin Lyda says:

    I am also at Google, I also have no interest in representing any corporation to the public never mind my current employer, but as a private person I do have an opinion so I’ll express it on that basis.

    Many people in technical jobs do have a sense of ethics and responsibility. If they discover their labour is being used to further goals counter to those beliefs they have an interest in either a) changing their employer’s policy/actions or b) seeking other employment. But you should not expect rational people to make such decisions based on comments that aren’t backed up with facts.

    Secondly I moved to Ireland from the US about a decade ago. In that time I’ve heard numerous comments about tech companies in Ireland only locating here for the corporate tax rate. Most of the time I have worked here, I have mainly worked at local Irish firms and the people I’ve worked with have done fantastic work. Work I would compare to that which I saw in the States. In fact in many ways US companies could learn from Irish software firms.

    The sneering comments from Brian Greene about tax rates are a slap in the face to my European and Irish co-workers in my opinion. I think the corporate tax rate should be raised. I am not so naive to believe that the corporate tax rate doesn’t play a role in attracting multi-nationals to Ireland, but it is most definitely NOT the sole motivation for tech companies to come to Ireland.

  17. Damien says:

    Fergal: Let’s be quite very clear and remove the spin. Calling my refusal to engage with you as lame and then emailing after I explicity requested you _not to email me again_ and slagging off my blog and the contents of it is harassment and I felt I was being harassed. What could be more explicit than being asked _not to contact me again_ ? Do you generally not respect requests like this? Do you normally continue to interfere when asked not to?

    Happy to answer your question, are you prepared to answer all my questions on Google and privacy and anyone elses or is this a one-way thing where only you can ask me to clarify what I said?

  18. DoC says:

    Blogosphere. Serious Business.

  19. *waits for Damien’s Feedburner (Google-owned, now) to be cut off*


  20. Rahood says:

    If we look past Corporate Tax in Ireland and cast an eye towards the Irish tax exemption on patent income, we find the real reason why so many US tech and pharmaceutical firms are based here. Round Island One Ltd (Dublin) posted gross profits of nearly $9 billion in 2004 (as reported by WSJ)employs >10 people and acts as a clearing shop for Microsoft. Dell HP and I would guess Google are well aware of this accounting method.
    A&L Goodbody International Financial Services based in on the Queys have a handy intro up on this ‘benefit’ of doing EU wide business in Ireland. …

  21. Sean says:

    Fergal Daly and Kevin Lyda; For people not representing Google your very defensive. Oh you’ve been trained well haven’t you?

  22. Do John Travolta and Tom Cruise also work for Google? I’d like to work for Google too. I’d like to take the test. I hope it won’t cost too much but I’m willing to raise the money. Please send me the questionnaire. Please send me the brochures. I will leave my family and never talk to them again. I’m a good person. I don’t chew my food too much and I have a good relationship with all my friends.

  23. Sean says:

    Bock the Robber, thats exactly what they are like! The scientology people! SUPER defensive.

  24. Craig says:

    Interesting way to hold a one sided “conversation”.

    Make a claim you have no intention of backing up and then when asked to justify it, require answers to ALL of your own questions first.

    By that “reasoning” I should be able to hold any person, company or government to ransom simply by making some outrageous claim and then refusing to back it up unless “satisfied” which be all know would never happen even were the answers given.

    Ok, forget about Google for the moment, how about Johnny On-The Street who expects and deserves verification of what is reported? You come out with an atomic bomb and then expect people to take your word for it?

    Then, you invite someone here to have a “right of reply” but what is the value of that right? To have you use that person’s right to ask your verification to turn around and use in support of your own demand for information? What kind of invitation is that?

    “Here, come be my whipping boy and MAYBE I’ll stop whipping you.”

    I like DoC’s comment, “Blogosphere. Serious Business.”

    As for a business motivation being an unacceptable guarantee of privacy, all it take is a little logic, which doesn’t pass through tin foil, to see that Google’s entire business is based on keeping any data they have to themselves and NOT sharing it. Who were the companies that instantly rolled over when asked to reveal search data? Who was it that had to be dragged into court kicking and screaming?

    You probably don’t even know the real reason the data was wanted in the first place.

    Do you want to know the real reason? I’m not going to tell you until you answer MY questions!

    As waste of bytes “discussion” like this usually end up with tangents including everything from the face formation on Mars to the taxation system in some country, taxation is a method used by governments to not only provide required operating capitol but also, the flip side, provide motivations for companies, via lower taxes or tax shelters, to move at least some operations to their locality.

    “Blogosphere. Serious Business.”

    Only to those who inhabit it.

  25. At Tipperary Institute, we have a computer forensics module in work for mid-career professionals where Fergal Daly’s query about how you can go from a search query string to a home address would unfold during the course of a single lecture.

    As an unvouched employee in the black ops part of the US intelligence, I routinely asked for computer usage data, knowing we could put a white van outside the proper premises with just a few strings of information. Google is sitting on a richer treasure trove of user data than any other single source that most of the COIN guys in my cube had at the time of my active days. Damien Mulley’s infrequent radio references to the same is just scratching the surface.

    You want a real shit storm? Just get a few of my mates talking in the open about this train of thought. The conversation would keep many of my friends up at night when they realise their Google histories could be instrumental in making them enemies of the State. It is my hope that the current reach of Homeland Security will not overlap Google’s BigTable as a matter of course.

  26. @Branedy: Because they don’t have to.

    @Damien: Considering that corporations behave like sociopaths, that’s pretty much, profit and regulation are pretty the *only* reasons why I wouldn’t expect them to fuck people over, be they customers or employees, regardless of the “Do No Evil” spiel. The primary impulse of a company is towards profit for its shareholders, with its senior staff doing everything they can to justify their overinflated salaries. That is, unfortunately, the filthy reality of capitalism as it’s currently formulated.

    @Kevin Lyda: Regardless of personal and professional ethics of engineers and developers, it is, unfortunately, the MBAs who are in charge, and their aim is towards profits by any means they can legally (and illegally, if they can get away with it) muster.

    I think part of Brian’s anger is that the government has targeted foreign multinationals to the exclusion of indigenous industry. That mistake could end up turning us into another Argentina.

    Not that I’m a cynic or anything.

  27. Craig says:

    “The primary impulse of a company is towards profit for its shareholders,”

    Right, with Google’s profit determined by the data they keep, not give away.

    Where is the profit motivation for your ISP, phone company if not one and the same, credit card company, bank, insurance broker, you name it, for keeping your private data private? Oh, right, they don’t have a financial motivation for keeping it private, they actually have the opposite, more ways to make money from selling your private data than they do keeping it.

    Add to that, Google may know what you search for but your ISP knows about that midget donkey amputee pr0n video you downloaded using Bittorrent last night.

    If people want to wear a tin foil hat and worry about the sky falling, make sure you are looking at the right sky. 😉

  28. “Right, with Google’s profit determined by the data they keep, not give away.”

    Yes, kind of. Their business, and therefore their profit, is built on that data. Their motivation for keeping client data private is twofold: they’re legally required to do so, and that sharing that data with others would alienate their customers, causing a drop in profits. You seem to have missed the bit where I wrote: “…the MBA’s … aim is towards profits by any means they can legally (and illegally, if they can get away with it) muster.”

    This isn’t tin-foil hat territory, it’s realism. I don’t have to trust somebody to do business with them, it just helps. I expect companies to try to fuck me over for profits. They’re not charities, and I don’t expect them to be.

  29. Joanne says:

    Sean – your posts show your evident immaturity. Comparing Google employee’s to members of a cult? We don’t even have a secret handshake! *boggle*

    Of course we couldn’t be defending the company we work for because….it’s actually not involved in any shady activity at all.

    Re: Damien’s interview on the radio, you are aware that every ISP in Ireland keeps a copy of your internet activity and all your emails (if you use their mail service), and will happily furnish copies to law enforcement agencies on production of an appropriate warrant?

    At the end of the day, Google don’t force anyone to use any of their products. If you have a baseless, blind mistrust of Google, there are many similar products you can use.

  30. Sean says:

    Joanne; Awh, Did I anger you Google guys? Ok I’m sorry, just please don’t delete my Gmail. 😛

  31. Craig says:

    “You seem to have missed the bit where I wrote: …”

    No, I didn’t miss it. Legal and illegal are relative terms and in many cases have no meaning.

    What does have meaning in every case, legal or illegal is the cost due to risk or loss as compared to the value possibly gained in a given transaction. The corollary of that being, how much is one willing to spend to keep what one is unwilling to share.

    I think though that you and I might be “violently agreeing”, i.e. Google isn’t going to give up its data and worrying about it is only useful if one has no better use for their time.

  32. Craig says:

    Sean, I think it possible you may not have considered a couple of things.

    First of all, your having any qualms about Google’s implementation of their privacy policy while still using any Google services would seem rather odd, no? Or, do you not have a problem but just enjoy getting a reaction out of someone?

    Second, were one to make outrageous claims about a company you work for, and hopefully care about, as well as its employees, meaning you, wouldn’t you become a little defensive?

    Personally, I could care less about whatever anyone said about myself or my company because the best revenge is living well so I’ve been enjoying enough “prepaid revenge” to last lifetimes but would you be so self confident enough to be able to accept undeserved criticism without a word?

    To be fair, considering your apparent age, I should probably warn you that these were all trick questions, most of which your next reply will show you failed.

  33. Damien says:

    Personally insult someone again on this blog and I’ll ban you Craig.

  34. Craig says:

    Far be it from me to insult someone.

    I’m just trying to see if Sean could be helped to understand what others might be feeling or trying to deal with in a situation where they have had to act from a position of defense from the start of the conversation.

    Actually, I’m surprised you considered anything I wrote an insult to anyone.

  35. Sean says:

    Comment by me:
    Fergal Daly and Kevin Lyda; For people not representing Google your very defensive. Oh you’ve been trained well haven’t you?

    – Joining the conversation made a quick remark on how defensive you were being [which taking by your new comments you are very much so being.]

    Next Comment by me:
    Bock the Robber, thats exactly what they are like! The scientology people! SUPER defensive.

    – Commenting on Bock the Robbers comment, again just stating how you are defensive, like the scientology videos. Youtube Scientology and you’ll understand what I mean

    Last comment by me:
    Joanne; Awh, Did I anger you Google guys? Ok I’m sorry, just please don’t delete my Gmail. 😛

    – Having a laugh, trying to get a bit of fun into it.

    However, you decide to splash out with three trick questions, which I find humorous, thanks for the tip on how it was a trick question by the way, I’m far to “immature” to realise that. Isn’t Google’s tagline “Don’t be evil?” surely that means your up for abit of a laugh. Of course maybe being so “mature” its sucked the fun out of you? I’ve always thought [from seeing the Google website] that the Google work environment is fun. Yet here you are.. And where once did I mention anything about having an issue with Google’s privacy.

    I’d appreciate a reply to that, try be patient and clear minded while you write it though, I am “immature” and will possibly not understand you if you start insulting me.

    Finding the way you’ve picked up what I said hilarious,

  36. Craig says:

    The trick was, that they were not trick questions.

    As for being up for a bit of a laugh, some things are funny, some are not. It depends on the context. laughing with someone is one thing, laughing at someone who, as you noted, seems to be acting defensive, would only seem useful for putting one even more on the defensive. No?

    Where did I say you had any issues with Google’s stance on and implementation on privacy? That was a two part question, A or B.

    Either A, you agree with the article author and Google has some explaining to do or you disagree with the article author or actually there is a C, you only wanted to point out the obvious, that people placed in a defensive position from the very beginning by the topic, act defensive.

    I wonder though if you are related to the author of the article as it seems you also seem slightly more inclined to want your own questions answered than you are to answer those of others.

    Here is that “insult” word again and I still don’t understand where it is coming from. A mature contribution to the discussion would seem more likely to be on topic and focussed on the issues raised by the article itself or, points raised in comments. Off topic comments whose purpose seem to make fun at someone else’s expense would not seem like as much of a mature contribution to the discussion.

  37. DoC says:

    I say again…

  38. Steven says:

    Damien, if you need a lot of info and FACTS to help sink/incriminate/discredit G, and the atrocities in which G engages with their “do evil” philosophy, let me know. I’ve been writing a lot for years. I don’t know who Marian Finnucane is or what this is all about, but I’d sure like to hear it or see it. I can imagine.