SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog’s InsideGoogle.com has taken its online privacy campaign to New York’s Times Square, where it has purchased a 540 sq. ft. Jumbotron digital advertisement promoting an animated video satirizing Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s attitude toward consumer privacy.
“We’re satirizing Schmidt in the most highly-trafficked public square in the nation to make the public aware of how out of touch Schmidt and Google are when it comes to our privacy rights,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, and author of The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell (Chelsea Green, September 2010). “America needs a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list and Google is Exhibit A in the case for it.”
Titled “Don’t Be Evil?” the avatar-style animation features Schmidt driving an ice cream truck and secretly spying on children. The animated short was produced by the nonprofit consumer group to shine a spotlight on the need for Congress to enact a national “Do Not Track Me” list.
View the animated short here: http://insidegoogle.com/2010/08/do-not-track-me/
View the 15 sec. digital Jumbotron ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aoGKAkM0oM
Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” but recent actions reveal that the Internet giant has lost its way, Consumer Watchdog said. Google has collected massive amounts of personal data from Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars, made private Gmail contacts publicly available on Buzz, and done a complete about-face on net neutrality, joining with Verizon in calling for toll lanes on the Internet.
Schmidt has appeared clueless regarding privacy himself, Consumer Watchdog said. When questioned about privacy, he has said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Recently, he suggested children could change their names when they got older if they wanted to escape what was embarrassing and public in their online lives.
“We think there should be another way to protect the public’s online privacy: a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list that prevents Google or any other Internet company from tracking your every move online,” said John M. Simpson, director of the group’s Inside Google Project.
A “Do Not Track Me” list would prevent online companies from gathering personal information, just as Congress had the Federal Trade Commission create a Do Not Call list to prevent intrusive telemarketers from invading consumers’ privacy.
Privacy protection is overwhelming popular. 80% of Americans support a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list according to a July InsideGoogle.com national poll conducted by Grove Insight. 90% said that it is important to “have more laws that protect privacy of your personal information” online. The poll found strong support to protect Internet privacy including these steps:
–Require the creation of an “anonymous button” that allows individuals to stop anyone from tracking their online searches or purchases: 86% favor; 9% oppose.
— Ban the collection of any personal data on children under the age of 18: 84% favor; 10% oppose.
— Prevent online companies from tracking personal information or web searches without your explicit, written approval: 84% favor; 11% oppose.
— Ban online companies from tracking and storing information related to children’s online behavior so they can target them with advertising: 83% favor; 12% oppose.
— Require the creation of a “do not track me” list for online companies that would be administered by the Federal Trade Commission: 80% favor; 12% oppose.
Read the poll’s topline results here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/wfreInternet.release1.pdf
Read Grove Ltd.’s poll analysis here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/MemInternetPrivacy-0727101.pdf .
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Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Consumer Watchdog’s website is http://www.consumerwatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://insidegoogle.com.