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Press Release

Google’s Misrepresentations To Government About Cloud Computing Service Warrant House Oversight Committee Investigation, Consumer Watchdog Tells Congressman Issa

CONTACT: , 310-392-7041; Jamie Court, 310-392-0522, ext 327; Carmen Balber, 202-629-3043

Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

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Google’s Misrepresentations To Government About Cloud Computing Service Warrant House Oversight Committee Investigation, Consumer Watchdog Tells Congressman Issa

WASHINGTON, DC — Consumer Watchdog today asked the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee to investigate Google’s misrepresentations about its “cloud computing” services as the Internet giant has tried to sell them to the federal government, as well as state and municipal governments.

In a letter to Darrell Issa, (R-CA), Jamie Court, president of the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group, and John M. Simpson, director or its Privacy Project wrote:

“Making misrepresentations to government agencies, particularly involving security clearance, again shows the arrogance of Google engineers, who give little respect to civil society and its accepted rules of conduct. We again urge your committee to hold hearings.”

Recently unsealed federal court filings and Los Angeles City documents have shown that the company has been misrepresenting its so-called “cloud computing” services as it has tried to sell them to federal, state, and local governments.  Google claimed its Government Cloud service had Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, when it did not. The U.S. Justice Department pointed out the discrepancy in a brief unsealed last Friday ( http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/doj_brief.pdf ).

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, in a project Google has tried to portray as a marquee for its government services, the company has failed to deliver on promises to provide the security necessary to put the city police department’s email on the Google system. The failure prompted a notice of deficiency from the city that was revealed this week (http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/googdeficiency.pdf ). The notice to CSC, which is installing the system, and Google said:

“These failures are wholly unacceptable to the City of Los Angeles. CSC and Google have repeatedly committed to meet particular deliverables on specific dates, only to reveal, at the last minute, that the set deliverables/dates will not be met.  CSC and Google’s behavior goes beyond a mere failure to communicate in a timely manner, and instead, on several occasions, has risen to the level of misrepresentation.”

Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Issa here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrissa041411.pdf

Consumer Watchdog first wrote Issa in January seeking a hearing into how Google inappropriately, benefited from its close ties to the Obama Administration, including how NASA’s Moffett Airfield, near Google’s world headquarters, has been turned into a  taxpayer-subsidized private airport for Google executives used for  corporate junkets.

Read the report, “Lost in the Cloud: Google and the US Government” here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GOOGGovfinal012411.pdf

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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 363 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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