Germany’s Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner blasted Google over the weekend for its “accidental” collection of personal data by Street View cars driving by the homes of citizens in Germany (and the U.S. and other countries all around the world).
John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group that is a frequent critic of Google, said the company had demonstrated a “lack of concern for privacy. Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar,” Simpson said. “The takeaway from this incident is the clear need for government oversight and regulation of the data all online companies gather and store,” he said.
John Simpson from the Consumer Watchdog has said that appropriate government agencies must now ensure the data is appropriately deleted. “Once again Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy,” said Mr Simpson. “Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar. Then a Google executive apologizes, mouthing bafflegab about how privacy matters to the company. “The takeaway from this incident is the clear need for government oversight and regulation of the data all online companies gather and store,” he added.
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.”
Consumer Watchdog, a group that has become one of Google’s most outspoken critics, renewed its call for a regulatory crackdown Friday. “Once again, Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy,” said Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson. “Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar.”
An admission today that Google’s StreetView cars were gathering private information from WiFi networks shows the company’s lack of concern for privacy and the need for government inspection of the data the company is collecting and storing, Consumer Watchdog said.
“Here they are just out and out snooping in neighborhoods and spying on people,” said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, a frequent Google critic who questioned whether Google violated wiretapping laws.
Those numbers might have gone unnoticed if not for a handful of critics who fear Google is becoming too dominant in its markets and is seeking to become too influential in Washington, D.C. Perhaps chief among those critics is John Simpson, a consumer advocate at the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog. Simpson says he would like to see the Justice Department launch a broad antitrust investigation of Google.
As we ready Inside Google, now in “Beta” mode, for its formal launch I’ve been checking various search engines to see where the site ranks. Today Google put me at number one.
Every month, Simpson comes to Washington to meet with staff on the Hill and regulatory agencies, journalists and corporate lobbyists. Simpson said he met last week with Jim Tierney, chief of the networks and technology section of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, and staffers about his petition for a broad investigation. Last year, he testified before Congress about privacy and competition concerns in Google’s book settlement.
John Simpson, an official with Consumer Watchdog, was displeased with the incident. “Once again we see what happens when companies push the technological envelope with little concern for consumers’ privacy rights,” he said via e-mail.
“The problem is that Silicon Valley companies rush to get technology out and they just do things and ask for forgiveness later,” said John Simpson, who works on privacy issues for Consumer Watchdog. “But too much is at stake.”
Privacy advocates argue that the bill’s exemption for “operational” collection of data–allowing those practices to take place under an “opt-out” rule–gives advertisers far too much leeway. “This bill really adopts an archaic and bankrupt ‘notice and consent’ regime that we all know doesn’t’ work,” says John Simpson, head of the Google Privacy and Accountability project at Consumer Watchdog.