A federal judge late Tuesday granted Consumer Watchdog the ability to challenge the legal logic behind the FTC’s settlement with Google over charges it misrepresented its tracking of Safari Web browser users.
“My assessment of this is that the FTC is struggling mightily to do as much as it can, given the legal structure it’s got,” said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, which has urged the federal government to investigate Google in a number of areas. Simpson added the entire flap ultimately reflects the urgency with which Congress should pass a new law, preferably one that would allow consumers to opt-out of advertisements targeted to their browsing behavior, called “Do Not Track.”
One of Google’s biggest critics is now urging new House Republican leaders to investigate the search giant’s ties to the Obama administration. The request Monday comes from Consumer Watchdog, which is asking Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to wield his “subpoena power if necessary” to bring soon-departing Google CEO Eric Schmidt before his oversight committee this year. The group hopes Issa will investigate “several areas where we believe Google has inappropriately benefited from close ties to the administration.”
COULD GOOGLE SPY-FI SNIFF OUT LAWMAKERS? Maybe, stresses Consumer Watchdog, a longtime, vocal Google critic. The group plans to make the case at a press conference on Thursday that Google’s Street View team not only intercepted unsuspecting Web users’ data transmitted over unsecured private networks, but is capable of doing the same with lawmakers’ sensitive information as well.
“While the discussion has started on this privacy issue because of this bill, I can’t really say very much good about it,” John Simpson from Consumer Watchdog later said on the call. “This bill really adopts and endorses an archaic, bankrupt notice-and-consent regime that we all know does not work.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is pressing White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin to explain his relationship with his former employer, Google. The congressman, who serves as ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, said McLaughlin’s account on Google’s new Buzz social network suggests he remains in touch with “more than two dozen individuals […]