All of this happens without the knowledge, consent or control of the people whose information is being shared.
And just in case Soghoian didn't get the point, Mercurio makes it clear:
The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day– without their permission.
Alarming, to be sure, but Soghoian certainly wasn't going to be BM's beard without knowing more, so he asked Mercurio via email who was paying for the campaign. The reply: "I’m afraid I can’t disclose my client yet. But all the information included in this email is publicly available. Any interest in pursuing this?"
Turns out Soghoian was interested in "pursuing this," but not in the way Mercurio expected. The blogger posted the entire May 3 email exchange on the Internet (a brilliant move, if you ask me).
Meanwhile, Jim Goldman, a former CNBC reporter who also just joined BM, pitched the Google privacy story hard to USA Today, then, according to the newspaper, ran for cover when his "pitch proved largely untrue," declining further comment.
Then Lyons figured out that Facebook was behind the entire bumbling effort, and that's where we are today.
This incident changes nothing -- no laws were broken -- other than it now makes Facebook "no longer seem so invincible," as Lyons puts it. I'll go a step further: It makes Facebook and its top executives (at least the ones involved in green-lighting this fiasco) seem impulsive and irrational. If I were a rival, I'd be taking notes.