Frequent Google critic Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to the White House on Thursday blasting reports that outgoing Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is being considered to replace Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
Consumer Watchdog asked House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to examine Google’s close ties with the Obama administration. It also wants a broader Justice Department investigation of Google along the lines of the years-long antitrust probe of Microsoft, which culminated in a 2002 settlement with the government.
Google’s grand experiment in photographing the world’s places for Google Maps has taken its “street view” cameras off-road with new hi-tech tricycles equipped with 360 degree view cameras to photograph the back roads, parks, college paths and inner sanctums of our world. The engineer’s latest design raises the question: What will Google be capturing on its back-road tour that people don’t want seen?
Consumer Watchdog spokesman John Simpson said: “Google continues to push the envelope as far as it can and increasingly intrudes in our lives without asking permission. How long will it be before the Internet giant deploys teams with handheld cameras to photograph places where the trikes can’t go?”
WASHINGTON, DC — Consumer Watchdog today called on the Federal Trade Commission to create a “Do Not Track Me” mechanism to protect consumers’ online privacy and added that such a mechanism must have the force of law behind it.
One potentially rough patch for Obama is Google. The company has pending business before the Department of Justice, which has yet to rule on the company’s attempt to acquire the online travel booking company ITA, and recently drew criticism for skipping a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on rogue web sites. Consumer Watchdog, a California nonprofit long critical of Google’s business practices, pronounced itself “deeply distressed to learn that President Obama is meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt today behind closed doors as the Justice Department is poised to render its [Justice Department] decision.”
In a statement, Consumer Watchdog said the Gallup/USA Today poll underscores the need for “do not track” legislation. The group pointed to a poll it conducted last summer that found that 90 percent of the 1,000 people it polled wanted legislation to protect their online privacy, while another 80 percent supported “do not track.” Another 86 percent wanted a single button that would enable anonymous Web browsing.
Google’s increasing monetary dedication to influencing policy decisions worries some privacy advocates who oppose the company’s policies. “It’s a huge increase and shows that Google has become a high-stakes influence peddler throwing its weight around Washington like the rest of corporate America,” says John Simpson, a privacy advocate with Consumer Watchdog, a group that regularly opposes Google’s decisions.
Consumer Watchdog, a group which has been highly critical of Google’s privacy practices, condemned the agreement to settle the issue through negotiations and called for congressional hearings on the subject.
Frequent Google critic Consumer Watchdog blasted the announcement and repeated its call for outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt to explain the incident to lawmakers. “The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn’t be settled in secret,” said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project. “This makes it clear why Google CEO Eric Schmidt needs to testify under oath before Congress about Wi-Spy.”
Consumer Watchdog decried today’s agreement between Google and the state. “The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn’t be settled in secret,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project. “This makes it clear why Google CEO Eric Schmidt needs to testify under oath before Congress about Wi-Spy.”
SANTA MONICA, CA — Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen’s deal with Google announced today makes it clear that Congressional hearings will be necessary if the American public is to understand fully what happened in the Wi-Spy scandal, Consumer Watchdog said.
A consumer advocacy group has hired a van to drive around the streets of Washington D.C. playing an animated cartoon lampooning Google’s outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt for previous statements he’s made concerning Internet privacy.