John Simpson, a researcher for the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog who was the first to raise questions about McLaughlin’s appointment to the White House, said Google’s bumbling intellectual persona in Washington is just an act.
The announcement drew an immediate response from a nonprofit consumer-advocacy organization, Consumer Watchdog. The group said Google’s motives in releasing the report were driven by “its attempts to quell worldwide outrage over the WiSpy scandal” and that this is “classic corporate PR spin to divert justified criticism.”
“This is what every big corporation does when they are under fire,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with the nonpartisan, nonprofit group. “They divert attention from their wrongdoing and spin a story about their contributions.”
The data collection could extend to about 30 countries, said John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit group that has called on the Federal Trade Commission to probe Google’s actions. Simpson said he has not heard of any state attorneys general taking up the matter yet, but a response by states is likely as people become more aware of the implications. He said there is mounting outrage against the company.
As the WiSpy scandal unfolded last week CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking in England, tried to calm the furor by claiming “no harm, no foul.” This week it’s clear that despite the fondest hopes of those in the Googleplex, the firestorm won’t go away.
Several European countries’ data privacy authorities have launched investigations into Google’s actions. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked to investigate Google by the consumer group Consumer Watchdog.
In addition to the letter from the two U.S. legislators about the Street View data collection, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate Google’s practices. The group also launched a site called Inside Google (http://insidegoogle.com/) to call attention to what it believes are the company’s failings in various areas, including privacy. As the growing furor over Facebook and its approach to privacy has shown, concern is mounting about social networks and Web companies, what kinds of data they’re collecting, and how they’re using the information. Google continues to downplay the importance of what was a serious breach of personal privacy.
Google faces other legal actions over the Street View snafu. German prosecutors, for example, have launched a criminal investigation into Google’s actions, while in the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked to investigate Google by the consumer group Consumer Watchdog.
“Google advocates openness and transparency for everyone else, but when it comes to their own activities, the company is extremely secretive,” said Consumer Watchdog spokesman John Simpson. “Inside Google will focus needed public attention on Google’s activities.”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission received a letter on May 17 from Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, California-based group that frequently criticizes Google, calling for an investigation into the Street View matter.
Consumer Watchdog today formally launched its new Website, Inside Google, to focus attention on the company’s activities and hold Google accountable for its actions. The sites’ URL is http://insidegoogle.com.
Consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said Monday it was sending the FTC a letter urging the agency to investigate the mishap. John Simpson, the group’s consumer advocate, said he was concerned that Google’s promise to get third-parties to review the software in question was insufficient.
One of Google’s most outspoken critics is Consumer Watchdog; and, after this latest news, it is renewing its call for a regulatory crackdown on the company.