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In every insult, there's a backhanded compliment. Privacy International has named and shamed Google, ranking it as the single worst privacy offender it surveyed in a new report (PDF), dinging it for a range of what it claims are objectionable practices and attitudes toward privacy. It's a charge that Googler Matt Cutts finds highly offensive. But Cutts misses the real reason why the nonprofit has targeted Google.PI's privacy booby prize is ultimately nothing but a nod to Google's power. It's not just the data Google controls. The things thought private that Google's robots uncover as they crawl the Web are equally unnerving. AOL might be dodderingly clueless in releasing users' Web searches; Microsoft may come off as phony in its efforts at transparency. But only Google has the power to violate our privacy in a way that matters.