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On an installment of The Colbert Report this week, host Stephen Colbert lambasted Google for its controversial handling of users' personal data and its CEO's remarks about personal privacy.
Colbert warned that a person's activities on social networking sites "could destroy your offline future."
He showed footage of Google CEO Eric Schmidt's infamous 2009 interview, in which the chief executive advised, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
"Are you listening, young people?" Colbert asked. "Just don't ever make a mistake. How hard is that?"
"The point is," Colbert continued, "the Internet is one giant resume. And under "special skills," yours might list: getting high, keg stands, flashing your boobs, and multitasking. That's why Eric Schmidt further suggests that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood. Exactly. From now on, changing your name will be a right of passage."
Colbert ridiculed Schmidt's statement about name changes, made during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, by suggesting that job seekers go one step further and "surgically alter" their faces to avoid Google's all-seeing eye. He also hinted that since many people depend on Google for email, chat, and search, the only way to escape Google is to ditch friends and family and dump "everything you've ever searched for on the Internet. Then, once all that's done, and you're a disfigured, nameless loner, you'll be the ideal job candidate."
He skewered both Google and Facebook for their treatment of personal data:
Of course, there is one other answer. Google and Facebook could stop invasively data-mining and selling our private data to the highest bidder. But that would be asking them to change who they are. And that's not fair.
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