So-called “Family-Friendly” YouTube Kids App Combines Commercials and Videos, Violating Long-Standing Safeguards for Protecting Children
Washington, DC – Consumer Watchdog has joined a coalition of prominent children’s and consumer advocacy groups that filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission today requesting an investigation of Google, charging the company with unfair and deceptive practices in connection with its new YouTube Kids app.
Consumer Watchdog, a vocal anti-Google advocacy group, has urged regulators to consider breaking up Google. The group says the company’s search engine is a “gateway” to the Web and that it should be forced to spin off some of its businesses to ensure that it doesn’t have an unfair advantage.
“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.“
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.
SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog today praised state attorneys general for voicing their concerns about Google’s changes in privacy polices and asking for a meeting with the Internet giant’s CEO Larry Page. Attorneys general from 35 other states and territories joined Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in sending the letter. They gave Google a week to reply.
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.”
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.
Consumer Watchdog says that privacy and Google’s ability to pry into the lives of anyone is a growing concern among the public. Colleague Jay Greene wrote that this week the group’s primary concern is that Google is gathering a huge trove of personal information, much of it without consumers’ knowledge and consumers are powerless to stop it.