April Fool! Parodies on Google or is the joke on us?

Google’s April Fool joke this year – renaming its search site “Topeka” – was a self-congratulatory disappointment compared with some of the funny self-parodies of previous years, for instance, here or here. The mayor of Topeka in March announced a month-long renaming of Kansas’ capital city to “Google, KS” as part of the city’s bid […]

Will Google’s PowerMeter give power to the people or spy on them?

Sometime soon, my refrigerator could be spying on my late night ice cream binges. Right now it’s just a large frost-free appliance that doesn’t talk back. But when it starts to network on the Smart Grid via a meter and Google’s PowerMeter application, will Google be analyzing my high-cholesterol snacks?

Judge Puts Off Ruling On Google’s Proposed Digital Book Settlement

NEW YORK, NY — Google confronted a barrage of criticism from opponents of its proposed digital book settlement Thursday as the Internet search giant tried to persuade a federal judge to approve a deal that would allow it to create the world’s largest online library. Some consumer groups warned Thursday that the company that preaches not to be evil could suffer from eroding trust. "They are part of this Silicon Valley culture which says ‘don’t ask for
permission because you can always ask for forgiveness,’ " said John
Simpson, head of the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog. "The problem is
that they are starting now to be so big and so ambitious that some of
the things they are trying to do now are overreaching in a way that
will very likely tarnish their brand."

Political Parties, Candidates Cashing In On Pay-To-Play Issues Forums

Top industry executives piled into Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters over the weekend to hear California’s Barbara Boxer, New Mexico’s Jeff Bingaman and other Democratic senators discuss some of the most pressing policy issues on Capitol Hill. Consumer Watchdog urged the seven Democratic senators on the agenda for
the weekend’s Google event to boycott it, since it created the
appearance of "pay-to-play politics when so many issues of concern to
Google and the rest of the Silicon Valley technology community are on
the table."

Watchdog Group Questions Propriety Of DSCC Fundraiser For Bingaman, Others

A $5,000-per-ticket “national innovation conference,” hosted by
the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and attended by senators
including New Mexico’s Jeff Bingaman, is being criticized by a consumer watchdog group that says it gives the appearance of “pay to play.”

Comparing Democratic, GOP fundraisers

Both the Democratic and Republican Senate campaign committees are holding big fundraisers — the Democrats today at Google headquarters and the Republicans on Monday and Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Consumer Watchdog objected to the Democratic event.

Democrats’ Event Raises Questions About ‘Pay To Play’

A Democratic Party-sponsored "national innovation conference" to
examine key policy and technology issues at Google’s headquarters
beginning today has critics charging that the $5,000-and-up ticket
prices limit access to the event to Silicon Valley high rollers and
raise the specter of "pay to play" politics. Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica likened the event to Republicans holding an energy conference at an oil company headquarters. The consumer rights group urged California Sens. Barbara Boxer and
Dianne Feinstein and four other senators to boycott the fundraiser
sponsored by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Watchdog Blasts Google Event

A watchdog group is calling on seven senators not
to attend an event at Google’s headquarters that the organization says
is a fundraiser masquerading as a policy conference. Consumer Watchdog
sent a letter
to the seven Democratic senators set to participate in the National
Innovation Conference Friday and Saturday sponsored by the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) at Google’s headquarters in
Mountain View, Calif. Those listed as attending include: Senators Mark
Begich, D-Alaska, Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Tom
Carper, D-Del., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and
Mark Warner, D-Va., as well as President Obama’s pollster, Joel
Benenson, according to a DSCC brochure obtained by Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Senators To Skip Fundraiser Set For Google Headquarters

Public Policy Should Be Decided In Hearing Room With Sunlight And Transparency, Group Says

SANTA MONICA, CA — Warning that a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
Fundraiser scheduled to be held at Google’s headquarters in Mountain
View, CA, on Friday created an appearance of a conflict of interest,
Consumer Watchdog  called on the seven Senators scheduled to appear not
to attend.

Google To Unveil New Privacy Controls

Google Inc. will announce a feature tomorrow that will give users more
control over their online privacy, according to a consumer advocate who
discussed the matter with the company. John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog hasn’t reviewed Google Dashboard yet,
because he refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement. But attorneys for
the Mountain View search giant informed him the new feature would be
unveiled on Thursday, he told The Chronicle.

Consumer Advocacy Groups Call For Internet Privacy Protections

A group of 10 consumer advocacy groups, including the U.S. Public
Interest Research Group, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of
America, has called on the U.S. Congress to enact legislation to
protect consumer privacy amid the growing use of Internet technology
that tracks consumers’ online behavior. A bill is expected to be
submitted this fall in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.