Virgin Atlantic Airways IT director David Bulman has branded Google "evil" in an interview with Computing at air transport communications and technology specialist SITA’s 2012 Air Transport IT summit in Brussels today.
When asked about the company’s strategic plans for cloud technology, Bulman said he was "not going to put everything into the cloud", remarking that "there are areas where you have to retain a bit of control". In terms of choosing app-based technology in particular, Bulman said that Google would be an unlikely option.
"I probably wouldn’t go to Google," said Bulman. "Google prides itself on the strapline of ‘Do no evil’, but they’re one of the most evil companies in the industry. I wouldn’t go to Google, because I don’t want them to know what we’re doing.
"There are those who call Google the frenemy," Bulman continued. "Google is making plays in the travel space. Do we really want them to know our passenger details? Not really."
As ex-CIO of advertising firm Aegis Group, Bulman elaborated on his distrust of Google’s data privacy policies.
"Aegis was Google’s largest advertising customer," Bulman said. "We bought hundreds and billions of pounds of advertising with them, and so we had very detailed contractual negotiations about how that worked.
"Data ownership was the bit we always stumbled over, because Google will not let you have full data ownership. They just won’t; they won’t contractually allow it.
"If you dig into the details of the contracts they give out to everybody, they retain the ability to use the data that’s close to their systems."
Bulman, however, admitted that it’s easy to "see why they do it", saying he’d do "exactly the same thing" in Google’s position. He also warned that, even if Google doesn’t appear to be using the data it contractually holds onto today, "they might find a way to monetise it in the future".
Bulman added that he’d consider further cloud dealings with Microsoft, as Virgin "already has a base" in Microsoft systems.
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