Google today unveiled the Data Liberation Front, a team of engineers in Chicago dedicated to ensuring that Google build “liberated products”—ones that have “built in features that make it easy (and free) to remove your data from the product in the event that you’d like to take it elsewhere.” We’ve spent a lot of time here warning about the dangers of Googlephobia, but now that Google has brazenly appropriated the TLF’s unique mock-Communist iconography, we’re starting to think that Jeff Chester and Scott Cleland may be right: Maybe Google really is trying to take over the world!
So we regret to announce our filing of a lawsuit in the Twelfth Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge Google’s infringement of our mark. We demand 50% of the $0.00 Google earns every time they “allow” users to port their application data out of Google to a competitor’s services! We will, of course, dedicate these royalties to the important project of educating and empowering users about how they can determine their own destiny online.
But seriously… We heartily agree with our Data Liberation Front comrades that users should be fully empowered to switch from one service to another online. This kind of competition is clearly the best protection for consumers in the Digital Age. Making switching easy should assuage not just antitrust concerns, but also concerns about how much privacy or security each web service offers to its users, no matter how big its market share: If you don’t like what a service offers, just take your data and leave! Who needs the government micro-managing the Internet when users have that kind of control?
Viva la (Technology) Revolution!
P.S. In case you haven’t seen it the Monty Python video we’re all riffing on: