Google Called Chicken for Dodging Privacy Debate

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 10:50 am

    The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is broadcasting Jumbotron video ads all this week in the heart of New York’s Times Square to mock Google as a big chicken for dodging a privacy debate.

    The timing is not accidental. The Big Apple is in the midst of a week-long conference fest called AdWeek, in which Google has a large presence.

    On Sept. 14, Consumer Watchdog chief advocate John Simpson sent a letter to CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offering to coordinate a privacy debate in Washington D.C. at time convenient for the company. So far, no answer, says Simpson.

    To put the heat on, the group rented broadcast time on a 26′ X 20′ Jumbotron screen below the CBS logo on 42nd Street, visible to all strolling through Times Square. You can view the 30-second video here.

    Consumer Watchdog believes consumers should maintain control of their personal information, including which web pages they click to, by default. Among other things, the group wants Google to offer a “make-me-anonymous” button prominently on its home page that gives Google users the option to not to be tracked online.

    “Google’s executives are discussing new frontiers of ad exploitation in presentations at New York AdWeek and sponsoring political discussions at Washington events, but they won’t engage in a meaningful discussion of the company’s most fundamental issue: online privacy,” says Jamie Court president of Consumer Watchdog. “What is Google afraid of?”

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