Back in 2004, as Google prepared to go public, Larry Page and Sergey Brin celebrated the maxim that was supposed to define their company: “Don’t be evil.”
But these days, a lot of people — at least the mere mortals outside the Googleplex — seem to be wondering about that uncorporate motto.
How is it that Google, a company chockablock with brainiac engineers, savvy marketing types and flinty legal minds, keeps getting itself in hot water? Google, which stood up to the Death Star of Microsoft? Which changed the world as we know it?
The latest brouhaha, of course, involves the strange tale of Street View, Google’s project to photograph the entire world, one street at a time, for its maps feature. It turns out Google was collecting more than just images: federal authorities have dinged the company for lifting personal data off Wi-Fi systems, too, including e-mails and passwords.