The large number of applications from the two companies would make the Internet ‘privatized,’ Consumer Watchdog says
A consumer group, citing concerns about the creation of a new, private Internet, has asked a senior U.S. senator to help block Google and Amazon.com from buying dozens of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
A judge has allowed privacy group Consumer Watchdog to move forward with an effort to oppose a US$22.5 million privacy settlement between Google and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Google critic Consumer Watchdog said the company’s increased lobbying expenses show it has bought into the “corrupt Washington power game. “Google claims its motto is, ‘don’t be evil,’ but the amount of cash they are throwing around demonstrates an astounding cynicism,” John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, said in an email.
Privacy group Consumer Watchdog praised the White House privacy announcement, although the group had not seen the proposals as of Wednesday evening. “From what I understand to be in it, the report may represent real progress,” said John Simpson, privacy project director for the group. “Enforceable codes of conduct could matter. Baseline privacy legislation could make a difference.”
Google’s alleged circumvention of do-not-track controls on Apple’s Safari browser could lead to big fines from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission if the agency. Consumer Watchdog, a privacy advocate that has been critical of Google, called on the FTC to investigate the company for unfair and deceptive business practices.
Consumer Watchdog has called for a U.S. government investigation of Carrier IQ, the maker of tracking software for mobile phones, and its users.
The privacy advocates praised McCain and Kerry for raising the online privacy issue, but said the bill falls short of their expectations. The loopholes in the bill “could leave consumers feeling that they’re far more protected than they are,” said John Simpson, consumer advocate at Consumer Watchdog.
In December, the FTC recommended that the technology industry create a do-no-track tool for Web users. In the following months, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft all announced do-not-track features in their browsers. Those browsers offer simple ways for Web users to opt out of tracking efforts, said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy director.
Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group largely focused in recent years on Google’s privacy practices, has called on a congressional investigation into the Internet giant’s “cozy” relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.
The Commerce Department paper calls for an online privacy bill of rights and codes of conduct for Internet companies, with enforcement by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. But several privacy groups questioned whether the codes of conduct would be effective because of the paper’s suggestion that affected companies help write them. The policy recommendations in the report are an “early Christmas gift to the data collection industry,” said John Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog.
The U.S. Department of Justice should launch a broad antitrust investigation into Google’s search and advertising practices and consider a wide array of penalties, including possibly breaking the company up, a consumer group said Wednesday. Consumer Watchdog, along with a mobile entrepreneur and two lawyers representing Google rivals, all called on the DOJ to initiate an antitrust investigation focusing on a number of issues, including Google’s marriage of search results to advertising and its book search service.
Google’s proposed book settlement with book authors and publishers, allowing the company to digitize and sell millions of books, makes a "mockery" of copyright protections in the U.S. Constitution, the head of the U.S. Copyright Office said Thursday. The settlement would give Google an "unlawful and inappropriate"
monopoly and strips away the rights of copyright holders worldwide,
added John Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog.
"The deal simply furthers the relatively narrow agenda of Google, the
Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers," he said.