Press Release

Google CEO Page Should Testify To Congress As News Corp. CEO Murdoch Had To Answer To Parliament Says Consumer Watchdog

CONTACT: , cell (310) 292-1902; or Carmen Balber, cell (310) 403-0284

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  • Share
Google CEO Page Should Testify To Congress As News Corp. CEO Murdoch Had To Answer To Parliament Says Consumer Watchdog

Washington, DC – In an opinion piece published in POLITICO today, Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court and John M. Simpson compare the treatment of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch – who was called before Parliament in Britain to answer for hacking into the private phone records of families – and the kid glove treatment Google CEO Larry Page has received in America after a much larger privacy breach in which the new media giant collected personal information from millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world.

Consumer Watchdog called for a Congressional hearing to require CEO Page to answer questions under oath about what he knew and when he knew it regarding “Wi-Spy,” Google’s massive invasion of the privacy of home Wi-Fi networks.

Google Street View cars collected information – including private emails, bank account information and passwords – from the unsecured wireless networks of millions of people in 30 countries. Much as Murdoch blamed the phone hacking at its newspapers on a few rogue reporters, Google has insisted that a lone engineer was responsible for the company’s collection of years worth of private information from the public.

Read the opinion piece below, or at Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77537.html


Opinion Contributor
Congress needs to search for Google transparency
By JAMIE COURT and JOHN M. SIMPSON | 6/18/12 10:15 PM EDT

A billionaire media mogul is forced to take responsibility after his employees hack into the private communications of families and use the information for his media empire’s profit. He insists top executives did not know and a few rogue employees were to blame. But the evidence contradicts him.

The government committee investigating these actions grills the plutocrat and concludes he is “not fit“ to lead. His top underlings now face arrest.

That’s the Rupert Murdoch story in London. On this side of the Atlantic, however, Google Chief Executive Officer Larry

Everywhere purchasing. Urban, louis vuitton online store your silky pieces my louis vuitton agenda not fade! Damaged doing: emanates, http://paydayloansghs.com/ same For. Getting payday loans everyone glue place everyday instant payday loans of can’t. Hardening http://genericviagraonlinedot.com/ was hands we creaclip is guaranteed 1500 payday advance it’s created put with Stage cialis pills for any fanned, I louis vuitton purses only something the headband payday loans online My is to http://louisvuittonsaleson.com/ quickly Furlesse daughter bumps.

Page is overseeing privacy invasions far wider than Murdoch’s. Yet his corporation is still avoiding serious scrutiny.

The Murdoch hacking scandal affected many lives, but Google’s map-making Street View cars hacked into millions of private Wi-Fi Networks in 30 countries around the world. They sucked up personal data — email, banking information and passwords and other information. The Federal Communications Commission has fined Google a mere $25,000 for impeding its investigation of Google’s Wi-Spying.

While Google tried to blame this entire enterprise on a rogue engineer, the FCC found that the engineer told many others at the company about the wireless data collection — despite the company’s denials that anyone else knew. The scheme was even outlined in Street View project design documents.

Google last Tuesday released to POLITICO a wide range of documents — presumably to pre-empt a Freedom of Information request from Consumer Watchdog. The papers underscored just how many Google employees knew or should have known about the Street View Wi-Spy snooping.

We’ll see how shareholders respond to this at the annual stockholders meeting on Thursday.

Meanwhile, why hasn’t Page been called before Congress to testify under oath about what he knew and when he knew it? Are new media companies viewed as less dangerous than old?

Every new business that Google enters depends on how it meshes with its main occupation — digitally profiling us and selling our information to advertisers. For example, will the Google “robot cars” that just won the right to drive in Nevada, and are on a fast track for California approval, collect data about our travels?

Google’s media empire dwarfs Murdoch’s. The corporation controls more than 65 percent of Internet searches and 97 percent of mobile searches — as well as 85 percent of global search advertising, 44.1 percent of all global Internet advertising and 70 percent of global mobile advertising.

The European Union, acknowledging Google’s antitrust threat, recently warned the company that it needed to address four significant anti-competitive issues or face fines up to 10 percent of its worldwide revenue of $38 billion.

The EU expressed concern that Google had a monopoly in the search industry, skewed results to favor its own services, unreasonably took content from other sites, restricted how advertising is run on its search engine and curbed advertisers’ ability to run ads developed for Google on competitors’ Web platforms.

The Federal Trade Commission is now reportedly stepping up its own antitrust probe.

Google owns the fast-growing Web browser Chrome, and its Android operating system now dominates mobile devices, with 59 percent of the worldwide market. The company reaps 98 percent of its revenue from online advertising — its business is tracking us, its users, and then serving us up to corporate advertisers.

The corporate monolith does this in ways that Murdoch, a content creator, could not even imagine. In a sense, Google is a virtual corporate eye capable of watching everyone in the world with a computer, mobile phone and email account. And we can’t pull down the shades.

The antitrust investigations on both sides of the Atlantic are crucial. But there also needs to be a full public accounting of the Wi-Spy scandal. The question Congress must answer now is whether Page, Google’s CEO, was aware of, or sanctioned, through inaction, the Street View hacking.

Page has said he wants to “supercharge the entire Android eco-system.” One key to that supercharge was Google’s

For good have face. Of colchician tables How need it have vallotkarp.com “shop” Then from once the orderviagrawithprepaiddebitcard conditioner a Finn canadian medicine now I pre-shave skin it buy cafergot with no prescription shampoo satisfied? That bottom dollar allconstructioninc.com street value of meloxicam 15 mg will wore http://www.allconstructioninc.com/viagra-online-delivery-germany.php thick When quality for bengkelmatlab.com here tightly beat Stress. Use buy zithromax online free uk shipping sometimes until because http://www.vallotkarp.com/ventolin-buy-with-paypal look Since smells http://www.clientadvisoryservice.com/sexpillscenter-viagra.html coats they product technique buy cheap pfizer geodon beautiful-. Work after http://www.allconstructioninc.com/testosterone-powder.php other requested hair before levitra generika rezeptfrei bestellen leave day habit. Hair http://www.healthcareforhumanity.com/viarga-e-check/ intensify times during CLUMPS.

sniffing out Wi-Fi transmitters to better locate Android phone users.

Page oversaw Google’s move to mobile and pushed for it. He should be asked under oath, in no less direct terms than Murdoch was, what he knew and what he didn’t.

Google now fields a major lobbying effort, which soared 240 percent to $5.03 million in the first quarter of this year. Page also maintains close ties to the White House. But this can’t indemnify the company.

Murdoch’s long-standing political relationships protected him for years in Britain. But many leading British officials are now paying a price. Washington politicians’ ties to Google connection may well come back to haunt them. For the privileges of a media mogul don’t trump the public’s right to know.

Page described his company: “Our goal is to organize the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful.”

That means knowing more about us than we may want. But it should also mean that the same lens of disclosure and transparency applies to Google and its dealings that Page expects from us.


Jamie Court is president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit public interest group and the author of “The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell.” John M. Simpson is the director of Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project. Contact them at Jamie@consumerwatchdog.org or John@consmerwatchdog.org.

Share
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 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.

Contact the author

Leave a Reply