SAN FRANCISCO, CA– A federal magistrate has denied a motion from Google in the Wi-Spy class action suit that plaintiffs said wrongfully would have blocked lawyers’ access to data Google’s Street View cars gathered from private Wi-Fi Networks.
Consumer privacy also is at risk through the new legislation, says John Simpson, privacy project supervisor for the nonprofit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. California’s new driverless-auto law “gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used,” Simpson tells WardsAuto. “That’s where we have a problem.”
SANTA MONICA, CA – The driverless car law signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown at a ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View poses threats to Californians’ safety and privacy, Consumer Watchdog said.
A consumer advocacy organization warns that the cars could do more than that, collecting personal information that could be shared with others, and is asking for a gubernatorial veto of the bill approving them, which was passed by the state legislature in August. “The California autonomous car legislation does not provide adequate privacy protection,” says Consumer Watchdog spokesperson John Simpson. “Data should be gathered and retained only as long as necessary to operate the vehicle. The consumer must opt in if it is used for any other purpose.”
“Joe Barton is one of the most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives, and Ed Markey is one of the most liberal,” said Consumer Watchdog’s Simpson. “The fact that those two guys can come together on this leads me to believe that privacy is likely to be one of the issues where there will be bipartisan agreement about the need to do something.”
What do autonomous cars driven by robots like those Google is developing have to do with your privacy? If the answer is nothing, then why won’t Google and the author of a bill to allow them on California highways accept an amendment requiring that the new technology collect only data necessary for the operation of the vehicle and no other purpose?
Online advertisers and privacy advocates generally agree that Do Not Track options should be available on Web browsers. However, there’s much debate about whether DNT should be opt-in or opt-out. “The privacy-friendly thing is to have DNT on by default,” said Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson. But advertisers say turning on DNT by default would essentially deprive consumers of choice.
Group Plans To Ask Google Executives What They Knew About Wi-Spy
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Consumer Watchdog today sent its “Google Track Team” comprised of mimes dressed in white track suits to follow shareholders as they gathered for the company’s annual meeting in a bid to focus attention on the Internet giant’s online tracking activity.
A theatrical moment occurred before the meeting, when a watchdog group dressed up as “the Google Track Team” to protest what it viewed as the company’s less-than-exemplary privacy policies. The protesters, from Consumer Watchdog, tried to “track” Google employees and shareholders as they checked in for the meeting. Google’s security team was not amused.
Consumer Watchdog demonstrator Don McLeod protests in front of a Google shareholder outside of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Thursday, June 21, 2012 before the shareholders meeting. Protestors demonstrated to help raise awareness of Google’s online tracking policy. They are calling for legislation for “Do Not Track” mechanism urged by the FTC. They are protesting information from being gathered by Google without permission.
Now Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit advocacy group in California, has filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking all documents related to the Commission’s investigation of the Google “Wi-Spy” scandal. The FCC recently fined Google $25,000 for willfully obstructing the FCC’s investigation into how Google’s Street View cars gathered “payload data” from private Wi-Fi networks.
A consumer advocacy group wants all the documents connected with the FCC’s investigation, while some European regulators may give the Google program a new look.
An official with Consumer Watchdog, which has been a frequent and sharp critic of Google, said despite the speculation, the organization does not receive funding from the search engine’s competitors — Microsoft, Yahoo or Facebook. “I don’t know why they would have speculated about that,” said John M. Simpson, privacy director for Consumer Watchdog. “They could have just called and asked.”