The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is broadcasting Jumbotron video ads all this week in the heart of New York’s Times Square to mock Google as a big chicken for dodging a privacy debate.
timing is not accidental. The Big Apple is in the midst of a week-long
conference fest called AdWeek, in which Google has a large presence.
On Sept. 14, Consumer Watchdog chief advocate John Simpson sent a letter
to CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offering
to coordinate a privacy debate in Washington D.C. at time convenient
for the company. So far, no answer, says Simpson.
To put the heat
on, the group rented broadcast time on a 26′ X 20′ Jumbotron screen
below the CBS logo on 42nd Street, visible to all strolling through
Times Square. You can view the 30-second video here.
Watchdog believes consumers should maintain control of their personal
information, including which web pages they click to, by default. Among
other things, the group wants Google to offer a "make-me-anonymous"
button prominently on its home page that gives Google users the option
to not to be tracked online.
"Google’s executives are discussing
new frontiers of ad exploitation in presentations at New York AdWeek and
sponsoring political discussions at Washington events, but they won’t
engage in a meaningful discussion of the company’s most fundamental
issue: online privacy," says Jamie Court president of Consumer Watchdog.
"What is Google afraid of?"