John Battelle on why Google is fighting DoJ

John Battelle, the band manager of BoingBoing and guy behind Federated Media, has a few thoughts on why Google is fighting the Department of Justice on the information.

So how to fight it? Well, standing up to the DOJ and getting major praise for doing so is a very smart strategy, in my book. As much as I’d love to believe Google is fighting this for heroic reasons, I’d wager that the data has more to do with it.

He’s referring to the fact that Google has always been secretive about how their pageranking and indexing works and has never told anyone how it does. This is being filed under the “trade secret” category when it comes to the legal defense. Strangely enough, even without the heroic aspect, it’s good to see a company that isn’t bowing down to the whims of the administration and opening up trade secrets. This is very important. Why?
If we opened up all our secrets to the government, then the trade-off better be that the government is backing the corporation in funding. Seeing that we aren’t in China and that isn’t the case, Google is in all the right to protect their proprietary information.
It might not be for heroic reasons that Google is actually backing their claims, but Google is still our hero nonetheless.
Via JohnBattelle

  • Sue

    In this case, whatever the reason(s), doesn’t matter. It’s the right course of action. (Gawd, did I just say that the end justifies the means?) Nope, it’s that there are multiple reasons for a single course of action.

  • Sue

    In this case, whatever the reason(s), doesn’t matter. It’s the right course of action. (Gawd, did I just say that the end justifies the means?) Nope, it’s that there are multiple reasons for a single course of action.

  • True, but it’s hurt Google tremendously in the short term. Google stock down $35 today as of this post.

  • darkmoon

    True, but it’s hurt Google tremendously in the short term. Google stock down $35 today as of this post.

  • Brenda Bowers

    I would have to go along with John Battelle that it is self interest and not a moral or heroic stand. As far as the information, do you really believe there is anything that is secret about us or our lives or even our thoughts now that we are broadcasting them on the Net? In one of my psychology classes I had my students go through people’s trash and then do a profile on the person or family whose trash it was. These were third year psych students so they had some background to work withbut were hardly trained psychologists. Only I knew whose trash it was because I had collected the cans with the peoples permission. To insure that the garbage would be ‘normal’ garbage and not filtered by the owners before I got it I did not tell them when I was doing the experiment. ( I just simply went around with a truck gathering up garbage cans one morning, can you believe!) All were instructors or employees at the university who had also agreed to come to class and analyze the student’s profile for accuracy. Third year psych students and the accuracy was amazing to me and all the other instructors in the department the first time we did it. No Mr. Darkmoon, we have no secrets in today’s society.

  • Brenda Bowers

    I would have to go along with John Battelle that it is self interest and not a moral or heroic stand. As far as the information, do you really believe there is anything that is secret about us or our lives or even our thoughts now that we are broadcasting them on the Net? In one of my psychology classes I had my students go through people’s trash and then do a profile on the person or family whose trash it was. These were third year psych students so they had some background to work withbut were hardly trained psychologists. Only I knew whose trash it was because I had collected the cans with the peoples permission. To insure that the garbage would be ‘normal’ garbage and not filtered by the owners before I got it I did not tell them when I was doing the experiment. ( I just simply went around with a truck gathering up garbage cans one morning, can you believe!) All were instructors or employees at the university who had also agreed to come to class and analyze the student’s profile for accuracy. Third year psych students and the accuracy was amazing to me and all the other instructors in the department the first time we did it. No Mr. Darkmoon, we have no secrets in today’s society.

  • Actually, the information does involve in Google’s trade secret. It shows how their page rankings works and gives more data for analysis on that.
    There are plenty of trade secrets. For one, I can tell you that my employer does things a lot differently in processing cellular phone calls than the competitors. Microsoft writes their operating systems different. Google does their searches different. You see the end result, but not the insides.
    For the government, they’ve been running Echelon since the early 80s. Most people didn’t even know about it until mid-90s if that. Hacker underground caught wind of it around the 80s also.
    Secrets? There are plenty.

  • darkmoon

    Actually, the information does involve in Google’s trade secret. It shows how their page rankings works and gives more data for analysis on that.
    There are plenty of trade secrets. For one, I can tell you that my employer does things a lot differently in processing cellular phone calls than the competitors. Microsoft writes their operating systems different. Google does their searches different. You see the end result, but not the insides.
    For the government, they’ve been running Echelon since the early 80s. Most people didn’t even know about it until mid-90s if that. Hacker underground caught wind of it around the 80s also.
    Secrets? There are plenty.