SANTA MONICA, CA — Consumer Watchdog today welcomed the announcement that Co-Founder Larry Page will become chief executive officer of the Internet giant and expressed optimism that the changes at the top mean Google will return to the values of its founders.
Current CEO Eric Schmidt will become “executive chairman,” Google said.
“Eric Schmidt has put his foot in his mouth so far on key issues like privacy that he’s kicked himself out of the CEO’s office,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project.
Consumer Watchdog looks forward to engaging with Page as he assumes his new role and discussing consumer issues like protecting consumers’ online privacy.
When Page and Co-founder Sergey Brin started Google, they envisioned a company that was more socially conscious and responsive than most corporations. That outlook was famously expressed by Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil.” Over the past decade, under Schmidt’s leadership, the company has all too often paid only lip service to the sentiment, Consumer Watchdog said.
During Schmidt’s watch, for instance, Google committed one of the largest privacy breaches ever, when its Street View cars sucked up private data from Wi-Fi networks in 30 countries around the world. The Wi-Spy debacle is under investigation by the FCC and is also the subject of a probe by more than 30 states attorneys general. Congress should require Schmidt to testify under oath about what happened, Consumer Watchdog said.
“Schmidt used to claim that Google put its money where its values were,” said Simpson, “In fact while Schmidt had his hand on the helm, values were changed to go where the money was.”
Consumer Watchdog has been working to protect consumers’ online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project. The goal has been to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their online lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies could become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector.
– 30 –
Consumer Watchdog, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Consumer Watchdog’s website is www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://insidegoogle.com