Google snips ‘confidential’ label from lobbying doc after criticism

Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Google probably thought it was being subtle and sly. Just after
    Consumer Watchdog obtained and released Google’s new "confidential"
    lobbying document, Google responded to our criticism
    by posting the doc on its public policy blog–stripped of the
    "confidential" and "proprietary" labels and presented as an example of
    Google’s public transparency.

    The lobbying presentation tries to
    defend Google’s increasingly dense and Big Brother-ish privacy
    policies, which make it both confusing and difficult for users to opt
    out of constant monitoring by Google. The company’s behavioral
    advertising tracks web sites visited and serves up ads tailored to a
    single user’s online wanderings. Consumer Watchdog also released an
    industry insider’s satiric critique of the presentation, including the
    fact that Google’s privacy videos take nearly as long to watch as the
    four-hour "Gone With the Wind."  

    Here are both versions of the Google presentation .

    In its blog posting of the presentation today,
    Google’s "Public Policy Counsel" (what’s that title mean, anyway?) said
    blandly: "We put together the slides below to help Members of Congress
    and their staffers understand the ways in which we incorporated privacy
    protections into our products. Though we’ve distributed these widely on
    Capitol Hill, we wanted to share them with our blog readers too."

    "Wanted to share?"  Hmm….

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