Google wants you to know exactly how it deals with U.S. government requests for user data. That's good! But the company wants to explain it to you with stop-motion wooden toys, like you're some kind of three year old. That's . . . weird.
This odd little video showed up on Google's Take Action page, which asks you to sign a petition for a free and open web. Again, that's a good thing—we like our net neutrality. But this is the most pressing privacy issue of our era, something that affects everyone who clicks or finger-swipes his or her way onto the web. Explaining it with Rankin/Bass holiday special-style animation just gives the impression Google isn't taking this seriously. Or, for the conspiracy-minded, that the company doesn't want you to take it seriously. Aww, look at the cow!
If you've been following privacy issues closely, you probably realize this video doesn't show us anything new. The NSA has plenty of ways to get what it wants, and the agency has the law on its side. The NSA, in a way, is one of the few organizations out there more powerful than Google.
It's great to see Google engaging in this conversation. But this is a grown-up issue that needs grown-up solutions. Talking to us like we're in kindergarten isn't going to cut it. [Google]