Google Stops Reading Students’ Gmail After Legal Questions Are Raised

SANTA MONICA, CA — Google said it will stop reading the Gmail accounts of 30 million students who use Google Apps For Education, spinning the announcement as “protecting students,” when in fact the change came only after questions were raised about the legality of the practice, Consumer Watchdog said today.

Google’s Social Network Relies On Unfair Practice, Consumer Watchdog Tells FTC; Public Interest Group Also Says New Gmail Link Would Violate ‘Buzz’ Agreement

SANTA MONICA, CA – Google’s social network, Google+, relies on a flagrant and fundamental privacy design flaw that is an unfair business practice, Consumer Watchdog said today in a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

Gmail Judge Holds Internet Accountable To Wiretap Laws In Key Consumer Victory

SANTA MONICA, CA — In a seminal decision for online privacy, a federal judge in San Jose, CA., today rejected Google’s claims that wiretapping laws do not apply to its Gmail business and that consumers who email people with Gmail accounts have no legitimate expectation of privacy.

Google Is Either Lying To The Court Or To The Public, Consumer Watchdog Says

SANTA MONICA, CA – Google is either lying to the court or lying to the public, Consumer Watchdog said today, after the Internet giant made new public claims asserting it respects users’ privacy that contradicted an earlier court filing it made. Google said in a court filing that there was no legitimate expectation of privacy when emails were sent to its system.

Google Tells Court You Cannot Expect Privacy When Sending Messages to Gmail — People Who Care About Privacy Should Not Use Service, Consumer Watchdog Says

SANTA MONICA, CA — In a stunning admission contained in a brief filed recently in federal court, lawyers for Google said people should not expect privacy when they send messages to a Gmail account. Consumer Watchdog said today that people who care about their email correspondents’ privacy should not use the Internet giant’s service.

Google’s Privacy Rules Grow, But Do Protections?

“Google claims that it’s attempting to streamline its policies — in fact, it’s about building even more detailed digital dossiers about the people who use Google services so that Google will get more ad revenue.,” says John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, a California-based non-profit organization.“

White House Plan For Privacy Bill Of Rights Could Boost Protections, Consumer Watchdog Joins Groups Issuing Principles For Fair Process, Voices Some Concerns

SANTA MONICA, CA – The Obama Administration’s blueprint to protect online privacy with a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” unveiled today could provide meaningful protections, Consumer Watchdog said, but warned that the test of its effectiveness will come as the implementation unfolds. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group also voiced a concern that an announced Internet industry commitment to honor “Do Not Track” could be aimed at undercutting an effort by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a strict Do Not Track standard.

One Privacy Policy To Rule Them All: What Google’s Controversial New Terms of Service Could Mean To You

Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson points out that personalized advertisements targeted directly to a specific user, based on user-collected information, can be “a substantial amount” more lucrative than just an anonymous ad. And with all the information Google can collect about your interests from your searches, your Google Docs, and your favorite YouTube videos, they can figure out pretty specifically what ads they should show you. “They are positioning this as streamlining privacy,” Simpson says. “But that’s just PR. It’s all about better targeting for advertisers.”

Consumer Watchdog Says Los Angeles Must Demand Removal of Deceptive Video After City Council Kills Plan for Police to Use Google’s Cloud-based Email

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on Los Angeles officials to demand Google remove a deceptive video featuring Los Angeles City employees from a website marketing the Internet giant’s Google Apps for Government “cloud computing” service.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Senator Kohl To Recall Google’s Schmidt As Witness After Executive Calls Government Slow And Stupid In Interview

Washington, DC – Consumer Watchdog today took Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to task today over remarks made to The Washington Post in which he claimed Google should not be the subject of antitrust review because its services are “free” and made derogatory remarks about government officials being slow, backward and greedy.

Web Tracking Has Become A Privacy Time Bomb

Google has been widely known to scan the contents of Gmail messages to deliver targeted text ads. While some don’t mind, others believe scanning e-mail to deliver more relevant ads is an invasion of privacy. John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, isn’t convinced the search giant will necessarily stop there. “Part of the problem is that Google collects and stores tremendous amounts of data about its users,” Simpson says. “The only assurance we have about what Google’s intentions are boils down to ‘Trust us.'”

Google Deflects PR Firm’s Attack of Gmail Privacy

“Much of Google’s privacy problems stem from the company’s culture,” says John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit Consumer Watchdog. “They hire like-minded engineers who push the creepy line, then apologize when they get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.”