Consumer Watchdog Urges Google Congressional Briefing Be Open To Public, Says Closed-Door Session Demonstrates Internet Giant Executives’ ‘Hypocrisy’

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called for a Congressional briefing about Google’s new privacy and data policies to be open to the public and said a closed door-session with the lawmakers demonstrated Google executive’s “hypocrisy.”

In a letter to Rep. Mary Bono Mack, (R-CA) Chairman of the House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) Ranking Member, Consumer Watchdog commended the committee for seeking an explanation of the change, but said the briefing should be public.

Read the letter here:

“Your investigation into Google’s practices that affect millions of Americans should be public,” wrote John M. Simpson, Director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project.  “There is a substantial irony in a secret briefing from a company that claims its mission is to organize the world’s information and make it more accessible.  Once again Google’s executives demonstrate their hypocrisy: they want everyone else’s information public, but want to keep information about them behind closed doors.”

Google Deputy General Counsel Mike Yang and Public Policy Director Pablo Chavez are scheduled to brief the Committee on Thursday.

Google has tried to justify the policy changes as giving users a better experience, Consumer Watchdog said. In fact it is all about leveraging users’ data to maximize Google’s revenues, while giving consumers no meaningful control of their information, the nonprofit, nonpartisan group said.   Google collected the information under one set of rules and is now changing the game without giving people an opportunity to opt out.

“Allowing Google to give secret briefings does not serve the committee nor the public interest.  We urge you to question Mr. Yang and Mr. Chavez in public.  If they decline, one can only wonder what Google has to hide,” wrote Simpson.

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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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