Group Wants Ex-Google Staffer’s E-Mail

Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    The public interest group Consumer Watchdog filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Thursday asking to see emails between President Obama’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin and his former employer, Google.

    The critique that Google is closely tied to the administration picked up some steam earlier this week thanks to an Internet privacy incident by Google itself. The company’s social messaging tool Buzz allowed users to view users most frequent contacts before Google made that information private, and screen shots of McLaughlin’s contact list showed he has almost three dozen Google employees listed as his contacts.

    McLaughlin was Google’s top policy executive before he joined the Obama administration, a hire Consumer Watchdog opposed because of concerns over the revolving door between industry and government. The screen shots that surfaced this week confirm that McLaughlin remains close with his former employer, according to Consumer Watchdog, but it could also just reflect that he was in contact with those e-mail addresses while he was on staff at Google.

    “The appointment was troubling when it was announced, but signs that McLaughlin is continuing a cozy relationship with his former employer while serving in the top White House Internet policy job are even more disconcerting,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog. “The public has a right to see exactly what sort of messages have been exchanged with his former employer and colleagues.”

    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy did not have an immediate response to the FOIA request.


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