Google’s popular Street View project may have collected personal information of members of Congress, including some involved in national security issues. The claim was made by leading advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog which wants Congress to hold hearings into what data Google’s Street View possesses.
John Simpson, from the Consumer Watchdog, told the BBC: “The problem is [Google] have a bunch of engineers who push the envelope and gather as much information as they can and don’t think about the ramifications of that.”
Search giant Google is facing its opponents in a New York court over long-delayed plans to create the world’s largest online library. Critics say the pact would hand the search giant a monopoly over online books sales. Some 26 interested parties will be given time to outline any objections. "This case is the key showdown. It’s high-noon time in front of a
judge," said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, one of the groups that
objects to the settlement. "I do think all the books in the world should be digitised, but I think
it is completely wrong to give one huge company control of that huge
database and this is a very, very important matter," Mr Simpson said.
A leading privacy group has urged US regulators to investigate Google’s
new social networking service Buzz, one week after its launch.
The Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group, said it was not surprised by this stumble. "This case illustrates a lot about Google’s corporate culture where a
company is run by computer scientists whose operating method is don’t
ask for permission when you can always ask for forgiveness," said the
organisation’s John Simpson.
A New York judge has put Google’s vision of creating the world’s biggest digital library on hold.
Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo have filed objections to
the settlement with the court, along with the French and German
governments, privacy advocates and consumer watchdog groups. "Clearly voices such as ours had an impact on Judge
Chin," wrote consumer watchdog advocate John Simpson in an email to BBC
News. "There was no way the proposed settlement could go
forward. We believe that the proper place to solve many of the case’s
thorniest problems, such as that of orphan books, is in Congress
because it is important to build digital libraries."
A powerful alliance of privacy and consumer groups
have likened behavioral advertising to "being followed by an invisible
"An individual’s data belongs to them and before these companies
track you all over the internet, they need to be transparent about what
they are doing and how they intend to use that information," said John
M. Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog.
Three technology heavyweights are joining a coalition to fight Google’s
attempt to create what could be the world’s largest virtual library.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU of Northern California and
the Consumer Watchdog advocacy group wrote to Google to ask the company
to "assure Americans that Google will maintain the security and freedom
that library patrons have long had: to read and learn about anything…
without worrying that someone is looking over their shoulder or could
retrace their steps".
John Simpson at the Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit organisation,
has applauded Mr. Schmidt’s move but at the same time criticised the
"clubby atmosphere" that prevails in Silicon Valley where everyone
seems to be on one another’s board.
The resignation of Google’s Eric Schmidt as a director of Apple’s board
has failed to halt a government inquiry into possible antitrust
Mr. Schmidt stepped down because the search giant’s business increasingly competes with Apple’s. Former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson still serves on both boards. Consumer Watchdog has called for him to step down from either Google or Apple to avoid antitrust violations.
Google has defended its online book deal amid reports it is being reviewed by the US justice department.
Consumer Watchdog told the BBC it was one of a
number of groups involved in calling on the Department of Justice to
act "We felt the deal set up an unfair monopolistic situation for Google,"
explained Consumer Watchdog advocate John M. Simpson. "We do need to have the world’s books digitized but I think there are
very big concerns if one internet giant is able to dominate the digital
market. We want a level playing field here," Mr. Simpson said.