McNealy may be overly optimistic about corporations and their motives (after all, he's the CEO of one; who doesn't like to think well of themselves and others like them?) but what I got out of the article doesn't quite jibe with this writeup.
Basically, he suggests that our privacy is safe in the hands of corporate America, and no government regulation is needed.
He may suggest that if you read it with a certain slant, but he doesn't say it. What he does say is that a company that abuses its customers' information will soon have few customers, if such an action is considered objectionable. He doesn't talk about government intervention one way or another -- he does say that while encryption gives you control over access to your information, locking everything up and making sure you are the only one with the key is not always in your best interest. There is some truth to this.
From the linked article:
On the Internet, even more than in other areas of our lives, trust is the real currency.
I find it hard to argue with this. Sure, McNealy comes off as sounding naive when he says he likes having his car company track his every move through GPS so that they can come to his rescue in a pinch, but one of the major reasons no one wants to put their personal information in the hands of a large corporation is that no one has found one they can trust yet. No one is confident that a company will resist the temptation to exploit such information for their own gain rather than having the customer's personal interests at heart. (Actually, this is only true for a certain segment of the population -- the rest are happily filling out registration cards in detail, signing up for frequent-whatever club cards, and charging every purchase on their credit cards, without much caring who knows what they do and when they like to do it.)
The point is, there is some benefit to giving out certain information to parties that you trust, not unlike giving a spare set of house keys to a friend in case you get locked out at 3 a.m. on a holiday. Living a life without trust is a bad way to be, and maybe one day even a company will realize that there is value to being trustworthy.
--Stop it, evil hand, stop it!--