Skimming through my daily privacy law newsfeeds last week, I came across the following headline on multiple occasions: Google says e-mail users have “no reasonable expectation of privacy.” In quotes. Meaning Google actually said that. “Really?” I thought. That can’t be right. I bet Google did not actually say that.
Guess what? Google did not actually say that.
I’ll preface the rest of this piece by making clear that I am not in the business of defending or apologizing for Google. Those who know me well know that’s not the case. Not in the least. But what happened last week reaches far beyond Google and demonstrates the folly of letting the media drive the privacy debate in this country—and, consequently, the development of privacy law and policy.