Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on February 26 that, from now on, the company will post proposed changes to its terms of service and other policies for member input. CBS News and CNET Technology analyst Larry Magid discuss the move with Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.
Facebook has taken the unusual step of allowing 30% of its members to
decide privacy policies. CBS News and CNET’s Larry Magid and I talked
the change over in this interview late last night.
(Semi-)Apology For Money-Snuffing Missive
San Francisco, CA — Google has attempted to cut the funding of a
well-known public watchdog, after the organization launched a
"guerrilla" attack on its Washington lobby operation.
Consumer Watchdog, a Washington D.C.-based consumer advocacy group,
said the additions were a victory for patient privacy rights activists. "Google and Microsoft and medical records companies are now accountable
in the way HIPAA providers are," Jamie Court, president of Consumer
Watchdog told The Industry Standard. "Heretofore these guys had no
When I walked into the Consumer Watchdog office today on a press conference seeking to protect benefits for autistic children, it occurred to me just what is so insidious about Google’s efforts to de-fund our consumer group.
This week, it came to light that Google attempted to persuade a
foundation to stop funding Consumer Watchdog, Santa Monica, Calif.-based non-profit that
criticized the search giant for its privacy stance.
Bob Boorstin, the director of Corporate and Policy Communications for Google, sent
a letter to the Rose Foundation blasting Consumer Watchdog, and, er,
asking that Rose defund them.
Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote to Google CEO Eric
Schmidt Monday arguing that his top executives must "have more
important priorities than defunding a consumer group critical of your
lack of privacy protections." In the letter, he laid out some
observations about Google’s perceived "less than open corporate
culture, its opaque public policymaking division and some suggestions
for change and moving forward."
Search Giant Tries To Pull Consumer Watchdog’s Funding
The U.S. privacy and consumer protection group Consumer Watchdog today shot back at Google for allegedly trying to have its funding withdrawn.
Washington, DC — Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote
Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt today questioning the company’s priorities
following efforts by one of Google’s top executives to dissuade a
charitable foundation from supporting the nonpartisan group’s privacy
Since winning the grant last August, Consumer Watchdog has challenged Google
privacy practices related to its Gmail electronic mail program and its
Chrome Web browser. Last month, the group accused Google of lobbying
Congress to weaken privacy protections for medical records stored in
its Google Health program. “Their business model is incompatible with privacy,” says Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president.
Bob Boorstin, Google’s Director of Corporate and Policy Communications,
issued a statement on Monday apologizing for sending information about
Consumer Watchdog to The Rose Foundation. Earlier on Monday, Consumer
Watchdog published the text of an email that Boorstin sent to the
foundation on February 9, in which he asked it to consider withdrawing
funding. Boorstin cited Consumer Watchdog’s campaign to highlight
Google’s alleged lobbying activities on Capitol Hill.
one knows more about us—our ailments, significant others, favorite
music, what we’re thinking about buying, and how much we spend—than our
search engines. Virtually all search engines gather information about
how searchers query, what they click, and where they wind up. This
personal information (i.e., IP addresses, cookies, session IDs) is
stored alongside queries for anywhere between 90 days and forever. "I
think most users simply don’t realize the amount of personal
information they provide," says John M. Simpson, a consumer policy
advocate with the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog.