One Privacy Policy To Rule Them All: What Google’s Controversial New Terms of Service Could Mean To You

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.”

Consumer Watchdog Launches Inside Google Website To Focus Light on Internet Giant

Consumer Watchdog today formally launched its new Website, Inside Google, to focus attention on the company’s activities and hold Google accountable for its actions. The sites’ URL is

Buzzed Gmail Outs Google Ties to Obama’s Deputy CTO

Ex-Googler Hoist By Mountain View’s Own Petard It would be hard to imagine a better Google story. If the company’s own web services somehow outed the most intimate secrets of CEO Eric Schmidt – a man who says net privacy is only for miscreants – that would surely be Google story to end all Google […]

Consumer Group Seeks Google, White House E-Mails

Consumer Watchdog said today it filed a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of e-mails traded between the White House’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Google Inc., his former employer. Andrew McLaughlin, previously the Mountain View search company’s chief policy executive, unwittingly revealed his exchanges with former colleagues when the Google Buzz service launched […]

Trust the Census; worry about Google

Census Day – April 1 – got me thinking about the data the Census Bureau compiles about me.  Google’s partnership with the bureau got me thinking about who has the most data and who poses…

Google updates Buzz social-networking service amid privacy concerns

The Internet giant has tweaked the sign-up process to make the
opt-out option clearer and made it easier to block people from
following users.

"Google shows continued tone deafness to the very important privacy
rights of consumers," John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said.

Google’s privacy PR meaningless until CEO Schmidt gets it

Last Friday Google’s Christine Chen, posted an article about the Internet giant’s approach to privacy, complete with a set of 20 slides, but such efforts are nothing but empty public relations gestures until CEO Eric Schmidt demonstrates he gets it.

What Google Dashboard Knows About You

Dashboard lets you get rid of some information on there. Google says
part of the goal here is to stop the theory about what Google knows and
doesn’t know about you, to provide transparency. But there are some
privacy advocates who say this is still this is not enough. For
example, one group called Consumer Watchdog put out this statement
saying, "If Google really wanted to give users control of their
privacy, it would give consumers the ability to be anonymous from the
company and advertisers in crucial areas like search data and online
behavior." And you can see the statement right there.

Poking At Google’s New Privacy Dashboard

… Dashboard doesn’t really give users any
clearer insights into what the company is doing with all of the data it
collects. John Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog,
said if Google really wants people to use Dashboard, the company should
make it easier to find, noting that there are few links to the tool
from the landing pages of any Google properties. Simpson said Google
also should make it easier for users to blow away stored search and
activity data across multiple Google properties with a single click. "Google is maximizing the PR value of this feature in response to
critics who have demanded online privacy guarantees," Simpson said in a
written statement. "They are letting a little light shine into the
black box that is Google, but to claim that this is transparency is

Google Offers Users A Peek At Stored Data

Google, which has been criticized frequently for amassing large amounts of data about people, is giving users an easy way to find out what information it stores in their accounts. John Simpson, of Consumer Watchdog, a frequent critic of Google, said
Dashboard gave users the appearance of control over privacy but did not
really prevent Google from tracking users across the Web. “What the Dashboard does is list all the information linked directly to
your name, but what it doesn’t do is let you know and control the data
directly tied to your computer’s IP address, which is Google’s black
box and data mine, Mr. Simpson said in a press release. “Google isn’t
truly protecting privacy until it lets you control that information.”

FTC Says Google, Apple Probe Still On As Spotlight Shifts

Consumer Watchdog Wants Genentech Exec To Quit Google Or Apple Board

Consumer Watchdog, formerly known as the Foundation for Taxpayer and
Consumer Rights, called on former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson to pick one board or the other. ?It
took Eric Schmidt far too long to realize that the two roles are
incompatible. That’s not surprising considering the clubby atmosphere
of Silicon Valley,? said John M. Simpson, a Consumer Watchdog consumer
advocate, in a written statement. ?Nonetheless, we’re glad Schmidt
finally did the right thing. We call on Levinson to act responsibly and
choose one company or the other.?