Privacy and Technology

Privacy & Technology

Consumer Watchdog believes individuals have a right to control their personal information and how -- or if – the data is used by corporations. Consumers should be able to go online, make purchases and use their mobile phones without their every move being tracked and recorded.

As the Internet has become increasingly important in consumers’ daily lives, we have focused our recent privacy efforts on protecting consumers online and in the evolving Internet of things.

We have also worked to stop the premature deployments of renegade technology, such as robot cars, without appropriate safety and privacy protections.  For example, our campaign to expose the problems with “Google glass,” and its intrusive spying in public spaces, led to abandonment of widespread use of the technology.

Consumer Watchdog advocates for greater accountability for online giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon and works to uncover their violations of ethics, social mores and the rule of law. We fight to apply anti-trust, price gouging and unfair completion laws to online companies that increasingly push the lines of propriety and try to reshape our values.

 

Focus Area:

Corporations Are Spreading Privacy Law Disinformation

The era of more online privacy is approaching, and California is a pioneer. This is our first Truth in Privacy dispatch. Last week, a slew of entities spoke about rulemaking before the California Privacy Protection Agency, which will soon draw up the strongest online privacy laws in the country. Elemental to the new law is people’s ability to opt-out of their personal data being shared or sold by a business. A hallmark will be webpages accepting a global opt-out signal.

California Poised to Be First State to Stop Geolocation Tracking, New Report Shows Need For Privacy Protections From Connected Cars

LOS ANGELES, CA — A new report details the privacy problems posed for consumers from connected cars and points to new rules to be developed in California as a potential model across the country, if the rules can withstand lobbying by the powerful auto and insurance industries.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds NHTSA Investigation of Tesla Over Autopilot Problems

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog applauded the decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate Tesla’s Autopilot feature and crashes related to it.
 
Consumer Watchdog has long been a critic of the rush to deploy the technology and its dangers and called for the federal government to take action to stop it. 
 

Consumer Watchdog Hacks A Tesla to Prove Dangers of Wirelessly Connected Cars

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer  Watchdog today released a video showing how a box it built with the help of technologists could hack into the wireless connection of a Tesla and take over the screen with a “This Tesla’s Been Hacked” message.  

The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/RgpmJ6OhPns

Google Algorithm Biased Against California Privacy Initiative Prop 24; Consumer Watchdog Calls For Investigation And Hearings

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today called for the Senate Elections Committee to investigate why a Google search for Prop 24 was, until last night, the only one of 12 ballot initiatives where the result for the nonpartisan Secretary of State reflected the “Con” argument’s negative propaganda.

US Senators Call Out NHTSA For Failure To Protect Americans From Risk Of Internet Connected Cars, Demand Answers

Washington D.C.  - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), calling out the agency's "dangerously reactive approach to cybersecurity" in Internet connected cars.

US Senators Markey and Blumenthal Ask Federal Safety Regulators If Carmakers Reported Cyber Security Risks

Washington, DC – United States Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal today wrote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ask if carmakers have reported the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in their Internet-connected cars and what steps NHTSA is taking to address the problem.