Google to Teens: Just Change Your Name

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has an interesting solution for teens who may regret posting that questionable picture on Facebook or tweeting about their bad romance: just change your name once you hit adulthood.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt predicts that all young people will one day be ‘entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood’ to protect their youthful indiscretions forever embedded on social media sites.

Expanding on Schmidt’s discussion of the contentious privacy issue, the Journal reports:

“Google takes a similarly generous view of its own motives…Mr. Schmidt says regulation is unnecessary because Google faces such strong incentives to treat its users right, since they will walk away the minute Google does anything with their personal information they find “creepy.”

Schmidt tells the Journal, “‘I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time.”

He goes on to say, “I mean we really have to think about these things as a society. I’m not even talking about the really terrible stuff, terrorism and access to evil things.”

Google’s tactics on everything from its data collection to search optimization to Google Maps have raised concerns, both here in America and abroad.

Close followers of the issue note Schmidt’s most recent comments are a far different philosophy than the one he put forward in 2009 when he told CNBC: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Google has also been at the forefront of Congressional hearings on the issue as Democratic Senators John Kerry (Mass.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) appear close to introducing legislation targeting online privacy.

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