SANTA MONICA, CA — Google said it will stop reading the Gmail accounts of 30 million students who use Google Apps For Education, spinning the announcement as “protecting students,” when in fact the change came only after questions were raised about the legality of the practice, Consumer Watchdog said today.
SANTA MONICA, CA – Google’s social network, Google+, relies on a flagrant and fundamental privacy design flaw that is an unfair business practice, Consumer Watchdog said today in a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
SANTA MONICA, CA — In a seminal decision for online privacy, a federal judge in San Jose, CA., today rejected Google’s claims that wiretapping laws do not apply to its Gmail business and that consumers who email people with Gmail accounts have no legitimate expectation of privacy.
SANTA MONICA, CA – Google is either lying to the court or lying to the public, Consumer Watchdog said today, after the Internet giant made new public claims asserting it respects users’ privacy that contradicted an earlier court filing it made. Google said in a court filing that there was no legitimate expectation of privacy when emails were sent to its system.
SANTA MONICA, CA — In a stunning admission contained in a brief filed recently in federal court, lawyers for Google said people should not expect privacy when they send messages to a Gmail account. Consumer Watchdog said today that people who care about their email correspondents’ privacy should not use the Internet giant’s service.
“Google claims that it’s attempting to streamline its policies — in fact, it’s about building even more detailed digital dossiers about the people who use Google services so that Google will get more ad revenue.,” says John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, a California-based non-profit organization.“
SANTA MONICA, CA – The Obama Administration’s blueprint to protect online privacy with a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” unveiled today could provide meaningful protections, Consumer Watchdog said, but warned that the test of its effectiveness will come as the implementation unfolds. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group also voiced a concern that an announced Internet industry commitment to honor “Do Not Track” could be aimed at undercutting an effort by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a strict Do Not Track standard.
Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson points out that personalized advertisements targeted directly to a specific user, based on user-collected information, can be “a substantial amount” more lucrative than just an anonymous ad. And with all the information Google can collect about your interests from your searches, your Google Docs, and your favorite YouTube videos, they can figure out pretty specifically what ads they should show you. “They are positioning this as streamlining privacy,” Simpson says. “But that’s just PR. It’s all about better targeting for advertisers.”
SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on Los Angeles officials to demand Google remove a deceptive video featuring Los Angeles City employees from a website marketing the Internet giant’s Google Apps for Government “cloud computing” service.
Google’s sad saga of missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises in attempting to provide the City of Los Angeles with a “cloud” based email and collaboration system appears to be drawing to a close.
Washington, DC – Consumer Watchdog today took Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to task today over remarks made to The Washington Post in which he claimed Google should not be the subject of antitrust review because its services are “free” and made derogatory remarks about government officials being slow, backward and greedy.
Google has been widely known to scan the contents of Gmail messages to deliver targeted text ads. While some don’t mind, others believe scanning e-mail to deliver more relevant ads is an invasion of privacy. John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, isn’t convinced the search giant will necessarily stop there. “Part of the problem is that Google collects and stores tremendous amounts of data about its users,” Simpson says. “The only assurance we have about what Google’s intentions are boils down to ‘Trust us.'”
“Much of Google’s privacy problems stem from the company’s culture,” says John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit Consumer Watchdog. “They hire like-minded engineers who push the creepy line, then apologize when they get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar.”