Ad-Sense Terms of Service gag critics

Jason Kottke's got a good post on Google's new AdSense terms-of-service, which not only allow them to terminate you without notice, cause or recourse (withholding any sums owed to you at the time), but also bind you to a number of restrictive confidentiality terms, oncluding one that prohibits you from criticising the service. As Jason points out, this is definitely on the wrong side of the "Don't Be Evil" line.

I really like Google, both the service and the company (hell, I also really like the Googloids whom I'm personally acquainted by). At least once a week, I put on my Google "I'm Feeling Lucky" boxer shorts and get a little grin, and I wore a Google t-shirt to my signing last night.

But that doesn't mean that they should get a free ride. Google wants to be a company that makes money wihtout being evil, and I support that goal! Being not-evil is good, and so's making some dough. But part of being not-evil is that you have to incur liability over and above that which your counsel recommends as the safest path — just as a shop-owner can't reasonably ask all her customers to submit to a strip-search to contain shoplifting liability, Google shouldn't ask all its users to submit to an unreasonable restriction on their speech in order to contain the spread of negative information about its service.

Google has every right to place whatever limits they wish on people who use their "service", but terminating said service without recourse when money is potentially owed by Google *and then* not allowing any site using Google AdSense (which may eventually include media sites like Salon, NY Times, MetaFilter, Slashdot, and even to comment on the Terms and Conditions that brought about the termination is just plain bad (evil?) and should give serious pause to anyone considering using any Google service.