Google engineer’s privacy problems should spur Internet giant to answer four key questions about users’ privacy, Consumer Watchdog says

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Google engineer’s privacy problems should spur Internet giant to answer four key questions about users’ privacy, Consumer Watchdog says

    SANTA MONICA, CA — The consumer group that recently launched a popular online animated satire of Google’s privacy problems embodied in an ice cream truck said the revelation that a Google engineer tracked children down shows that private information is never safe if it is in Google’s hands. Consumer Watchdog called on Google to publicly answer some basic questions about how effectively it protects consumers’ privacy.

    “The ability of a Google engineer to use his position to access private information about children in Google’s black box shows the satire’s warning about the Pandora’s box of our privacy problems is more real than anyone would want to believe,” said Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court, author of The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell, published this week. “In the back of Google’s ice cream truck is at least one engineer who tracked down children. There’s no clearer evidence of why we need national ‘Do Not Track Me’ legislation. Would Google oppose such a list even if it were just for children?”

    Watch the “Don’t Be Evil?” animation at:

    Consumer Watchdog called on Google to answer four questions:

    – How many other Googlers have invaded consumers’ privacy?

    – How many have been disciplined or fired for doing so?

    — How many times have hackers — government or private — gained entry to Google’s treasure drove of data?

    — Would Google support “Do Not Track Me” legislation?

    Earlier this month Consumer Watchdog launched a satirical video — now viewed more than 330,000 times — with a Times Square Jumbotron ad depicting CEO Eric Schmidt distributing ice cream to children while a computer engineer gathered information about them.  Wednesday Google acknowledged it fired an engineer for accessing kids’ personal information on Google accounts and using it to taunt them, a situation foreshadowed in the video, “Don’t Be Evil?”.

    “The point we’ve been making is that when so much personal information is accumulated by one company it is inevitably a target for abuse,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google project. “Consumers have a right to control their data and whether it’s even gathered.  They have a right to know if their privacy is breached.”

    Consumer Watchdog cited Google’s privacy fiasco with the launch of “Buzz”, when it revealed users’ most frequently emailed contacts, and the Wi-Spy scandal, when its Street View vehicles gathered information from private Wi-Fi networks in 30 countries around the world, as examples of Google’s cavalier and arrogant approach to handling consumers’ private information.

    Consumer Watchdog said that if Google refuses to provide consumers with tools necessary to control what personal information is gathered about them, Congress must enact “Do Not Track Me” legislation.

    If Google expects consumers to trust the company with their data, it needs to provide real control over how their information is used or if its gathered at all, Consumer Watchdog said. And, Google must provide complete transparency about the security of its databases.

    The privacy intrusions using Google’s data can come from hackers, governments, “rogue” employees or Google itself when the company decides an invasion suits its latest business agenda.

    “The problem isn’t one rogue or clueless employee,” said Simpson. “The problem is a corporate culture driven by a computer engineer’s mindset that permeates Google to the core: More data is always better even if you don’t know what you’ll do with it when its first gathered. With the right algorithms we know best how to use your data for you. Don’t ask permission; you can always ask forgiveness.”

    – 30 –

    Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website:

    , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    This post was written by:

    John M. Simpson

    - who has written 414 posts on Inside Google.

    Contact the author

    2 Responses to “Google engineer’s privacy problems should spur Internet giant to answer four key questions about users’ privacy, Consumer Watchdog says”

    1. Larry M. Says:

      This is why everyone should use TrulyMail, PGP, or GPG to encrypt their emails if they are going to keep messages on Google’s (or anyone’s) servers.

      To leave unencrypted emails on sonmeone’s server is just asking for this kind of violation. The temptation is there. Remove the temptation…remove your data yourself.


    1. Today’s Recommended Reads « Google Monitor - 16. Sep, 2010

      […] Google engineer’s privacy problems should spur Internet giant to answer four key questions about u… […]

    Leave a Reply

    ルイヴィトンは旅行の芸術なので、ルイヴィトンは比較的人気の高いブランドで、現在は手動で機械的に混合してパッケージングを行っています。 ルイヴィトンiphoneケースの海外での価格は、国民に比較的近いです。 しかし、エルメスは異なっています。馬が馬を生産するのは初めてです。そのため、エルメスは主に手作りの芸術であり、一般的な意味では贅沢ではありません。 エルメスiphoneケースのすべての製品は、芸術作品として楽しんで保存することができます。 ルイ?ヴィトンは、価格面ではルイ?ヴィトンよりもはるかに高いですが、質の面ではそれほど優れているわけではありませんが、近年では生産の増加により衰退の兆しが見えてきました。 最も顕著なパフォーマンスは、ブランド携帯ケース伝統的に手作業で加工された部品の多くが現在機械加工されていることです。加工の質は向上しますが、機械と労働は必ずしも成績ではありません。