Signs that Google will soon face strong antitrust action on both sides of the Atlantic are increasing with a report Thursday from Bloomberg News Service that the the Federal Trade Commission staff has recommended that the Internet giant be sued for unfairly blocking competitors’ access to smartphone-technology patents.
Consumer Watchdog challenges that $4 million figure. “The government has not given this court any insight into how it made its calculations,” the organization argues, adding that it needs more evidence from Google in order to determine the extent of profits from the workaround.
John Simpson, of Consumer Watchdog, a group critical of Google, says in a statement that Google acted with “complete disregard” for users’ privacy. “I am glad the European Union is calling out their abuses, but am disappointed that American consumers must look across the Atlantic to see privacy rights defended,” Simpson said.
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.”
“Google has demonstrated an ability to out-maneuver government regulators repeatedly and ride roughshod over the privacy rights of consumers. Google continues to be disingenuous about its practices,” says John Simpson, privacy project director at US organization Consumer Watchdog.
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 deal that calls for Google to pay a $22.5 million civil penalty for tracking Safari users should be rejected, Consumer Watchdog argues in new court papers. “The proposed settlement is markedly unusual and deficient,” the organization says in papers filed on Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO – The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed $22.5 million settlement with Google for hacking past privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser fails to include a permanent injunction against violating its “Buzz” Consent Decree with the Commission, one of three reasons it be should be rejected, Consumer Watchdog said today.
“It is clear that we do need better protection of vulnerable networks,” John Simpson, consumer advocate at Consumer Watchdog, told TechNewsWorld. “Congress was unable to act, so I suppose the Administration is taking steps.” He cautioned, however, that he had not seen a copy of the draft order.
Google never admitted it violated any FTC regulations, although it did agree to pay the fine. The group ConsumerWatchdog.org criticized the settlement because it felt the fine wasn’t large enough, and because Google never had to admit it did anything wrong. John Simpson, director of the privacy project at ConsumerWatchdog.org said, “This is letting Google buy its way out of trouble.”
“It hasn’t been clear yet exactly what it means,” says Consumer Watchdog consumer advocate John Simpson. “The advertising industry, I think, would have it mean that they’re not going to target you with behavioral-based advertising. Many of us who are concerned about privacy understand that if you send a Do Not Track message, then your data should not be collected [at all].”
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.”
Autonomous cars are a hot topic of conversation nowadays. Fans of the status quo see them as a waste of time. Driving enthusiasts see them as the harbinger of a boring, 55 mph future. And politicians see them as high-tech boogeymen to scare seniors into voting booths. (NB: that tactic didn’t work.) Now, another group voiced its criticism — specifically against Google’s autonomous car: the aptly but obviously named Consumer Watchdog group, based in Santa Monica, California.