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:

Consumer Watchdog Joins Broad Coalition Telling Senate to Put Brakes on Flawed Robot Car Bill

LOS ANGELES – Consumer Watchdog has joined an alliance of more than 75 local, state and national organizations representing safety, law enforcement and first responders, public health, bicyclists and pedestrians, engineering, environmental and consumer groups, disability communities and families affected by motor vehicle crashes calling on the Senate to oppose a flawed autonomous vehicle bill. 

U.S., European Consumer Groups Call on FTC to Investigate Google for Deceptively Tracking Android Phone Users

An association of more than 75 consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic is asking the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google for unfairly and deceptively manipulating users of mobile phones with the Android operating system into being constantly location-tracked.

In a letter to the FTC the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) charged: “Google is removing individuals’ control over their data by deceit.”

Read the TACD letter here.

California DMV Must Release Waymo's Robot Car Insurance Details, Says Consumer Watchdog

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to release details of Waymo’s insurance coverage for the 39 driverless robot cars the former Google unit has just received permission to test in the state.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that the DMV’s self-certification approach to granting permits to allow testing of cars without drivers is inadequate to protect highway safety.     

Consumer Watchdog Calls Chrysler Out Over Possible Recall For 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Los Angeles, CA -- Chrysler Fiat has failed to respond to a letter from the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog sent more than two weeks ago identifying a potentially fatal flaw in its 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The group identified the failure of the driver’s side airbag to deploy because of the lack of electrical conductivity due to a clock spring that is the same or similar design as the 1998- 2001 Chrysler Grand Caravan in which a recall of 1.29 million automobiles was ordered.

California DMV’s Approval for Waymo to Test Driverless Robot Cars Is Premature

LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Department of Motor Vehicles approval today of Waymo’s application to test driverless robot cars in Santa Clara County is premature and key questions must be answered by both Waymo, Google’s driverless car unit, and the Department before any testing starts, Consumer Watchdog said.

Consumer Watchdog Joins Complaint Asking FTC to Investigate Apps Which Manipulate Kids

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today joined the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy and 19 other consumer and health advocacy groups in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to hold app makers accountable for unfair and deceptive practices, including falsely marketing apps that require in-app purchases as "free" and manipulating children to watch ads and make purchases.

Google+ Data Breach Shows Internet Giant Cannot Be Trusted to Police Its Platform

LOS ANGELES – The data breach of Google’s social network, Google+, that the company hid since last March, shows that the Internet Giant cannot be trusted to police its own platforms, Consumer Watchdog said today.

Consumer Watchdog first pointed out Google’s failure to police its social network in 2013 when it released a seven-month study that found the company had allowed Google+ to become a virtual playground for online predators with explicit sexual content.

Consumer Watchdog Calls on U.S. Antitrust Authorities to Follow Europe’s $5.1 Billion Lead, Take Action Against Google’s Android Abuses

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on U.S. antitrust authorities to follow the lead of Europe’s top competition official, Margrethe Vestager, and take decisive action against Google for unfairly using its monopoly power on its Android operating system.

Consumer Watchdog Heralds Landmark CA Consumer Privacy Reform

LOS ANGELES, CA –Consumer Watchdog said today that the new privacy law passed today in California is a landmark reform and should be a bellwether for America.

"Today, Californians won the right to control their private information and to hold companies accountable for data breaches with stiff financial penalties," said Jamie Court. "This landmark reform should spread to all of America and be implemented for all Americans just as it has been for Californians. 

Eight Consumer Advocacy Groups Call Upon FTC to Investigate Google and Facebook for Pushing Users into Choosing Less Privacy-friendly Options

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and six other consumer groups in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the misleading and manipulative tactics of Google and Facebook in steering users to “consent” to privacy-invasive default settings.