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Consumer Watchdog To Senate Judiciary: President Should Not Meet Behind Closed Doors With Google

CONTACT: , 310-392-7041, Jamie Court, 310-392-0552, x327, & Carmen Balber, 202-629-3043

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

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Consumer Watchdog To Senate Judiciary: President Should Not Meet Behind Closed Doors With Google

With ITA Deal Before Justice, CEO Schmidt Should Testify Before Congress

Washington, DC – Consumer Watchdog told the Senate Judiciary Committee that it is, “deeply distressed to learn that President Obama is meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt today behind closed doors as the Justice Department is poised to render its decision on Google’s acquisition of ITA, which has caused deep concern within in the travel industry about Google’s ability to drive out competitors in the online airline booking industry.”

The President is scheduled to meet with Google CEO Eric Schmidt in Northern California today. Consumer Watchdog pointed out that Google had been recently criticized for failing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify at the Committee’s hearing on rogue websites.

In a letter Consumer Watchdog drew to the senators’ attention the group’s recent report about the close relationship between the executive branch and Google.  “Lost In the Clouds” can be viewed at: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GOOGGovfinal012411.pdf.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit group also pointed out a recent video, “Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington,” which uses Mr. Schmidt’s own statements to explain why he needs to answer to your Committee. View the video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/mr-schmidt-goes-washington.

“Rarely has an American company with this type of power and troubled history been able to have access to the highest levels of presidency without having to answer to the American people in Congress.  We call upon you to bring Mr. Schmidt to Washington,” Consumer Watchdog wrote today.

Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here:
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrsenatejudiciary021711.pdf.

Consumer Watchdog has been working to protect consumers’ online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project. Its goal has been to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their online lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies would become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector.

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Consumer Watchdog, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, CA.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://InsideGoogle.com.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 351 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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