Google, Oracle Of Transparency, Gets Caught By Transparency; Consumer Watchdog Says Earnings Report Glitch Should Be Wake Up Call For Online Privacy

SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog urged the founders of Google to take today’s early leak of financial information — which caused Google to ask to suspend trading in its stock — as a wake up call for the billionaire executives and prompt them to support giving Google users the right to suspend trading in their own private information.

Google’s disappointing third quarter results were posted by a contractor to the Securities and Exchange Commission before Google intended. The stock plunged nearly 10 percent and Google asked for trading to be suspended.

“Now CEO Larry Page really knows what it’s like to have your private data made public before you wanted it out there,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “He ought to think long and hard about that, because his company violates the privacy of millions of its users daily.”

Google’s entire business model is based on amassing digital dossiers about its users and selling ads against them. You are Google’s product, not its customer, Consumer Watchdog noted.

“Google users don’t have the

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right to say no to disclosure of their information. They cannot stop the trading of such information, the way Google asked to suspend trading its stock,” said Simpson.

Google says its mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible, Consumer Watchdog said.

“The oracle of transparency should take heed of what it means to be bitten by information you don’t yet want public,” Simpson said. “Google’s founders should now know what it feels like to have private information become public and give all users the right to suspend public trading of the their data through a meaningful Do Not Track Option.”

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Published by John M. Simpson

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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