The oracle of progressive opinion, the New York Times editorial page, articulated the core concept for new privacy protection in America today: "Internet users should be able to control how much of their personal data companies keep."
With all the technological mysteries and sophisticated developments on the Internet, this core inescapable American principle in today"s editorial rings true. Control over our private information is a moral sentiment that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other Internet goliaths simply cannot argue against. They should conceed, rather than face legislative mandates that force their compliance and a legislative battle on Capitol Hill that exposes more about their practices than they would no doubt want to.
In recent weeks Yahoo has joined with European regulators in pressuring Internet titans to discard search engine query data after 90 days rather than up to 18 months. The truth is consumers should have the choice to make their search engine data disappear instantly, that's the case currently with Ask.com"s eraser function.
My colleagues at Consumer Watchdog have made the case to Google's CEO Eric Schmidt that his company is the global Internet leader, so it should lead on this issue. How hard is it really to put a simple "anonymize me" button on its search engine page to give users the choice of how to control their data? This won't be the death knell for Google's business model, as many observers suggest, but a new era for a paradigm that balances the power of the consumer with the power of the Internet.