Right now, running twice an hour in Times Square, there’s a 540 sq. ft. animation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt giving little kids free ice cream and secretly gathering their personal information.
We put up the ad to make the public aware of how out of touch Schmidt and Google are when it comes to our privacy rights.
Schmidt is out of control. When questioned about privacy, he has said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Recently, he suggested children could change their names when they got older if they wanted to escape what was embarrassing and public in their online lives.
We think there should be another way to protect the public’s online privacy: a ”Do Not Track Me” list that prevents Google or any other Internet company from tracking your every move online.
Google’s motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” but recent actions reveal that the Internet giant has lost its way: it has collected hoards of personal data from Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars; it has made private Gmail contacts publicly available on Buzz; it has done a complete about-face on net-neutrality, joining with Verizon in calling for toll lanes on the Internet.
Google poses a serious threat to our privacy, and our animation is meant to put a spotlight on the need for Congress to enact a national ”Do Not Track Me” list.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. In the past Consumer Watchdog focused national attention on the need for patients’ rights by dumping truckloads of beans on HMO bean counters. We published the partial social security numbers of elected officials to make the case for greater financial privacy. Now, we have satirized Eric Schmidt in the most highly-trafficked public square in the nation to draw attention to Google’s lack of regard for our online privacy.
When other companies and industries have shown such lack of proportion and perspective, we have made them pay through extraordinary tactics. We apply this principle now to Google to highlight the need for immediate change.