Now, information revealed by Buzz
about Andrew McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Obama
administration and former Google lobbyist, has spurred Consumer Watchdog
— which opposed McLaughlin’s appointment — to file a Freedom of
Information Act request
for McLaughlin’s emails.
This week, Breitbart’s Big
that McLaughlin’s Buzz profile showed that at least 28 of his contacts
worked at Google. "McLaughlin’s Gmail appears to include a ‘who’s who’
of Google senior lobbyists and lawyers from across the globe," the site
That’s reason enough to request McLaughlin’s emails,
says John Simpson, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog. "His top
contacts were former Google colleagues," Simpson says. "That prompted a
concern on my part. We ought to be able to see the emails that have gone
back and forth between McLaughlin and Google executives."
The White House takes the position that the emails need not be
disclosed, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Simpson acknowledges that some of the emails between
McLaughlin and Google employees might be personal, but argues that the
government must come forward and argue that particular messages are
When Google launched Buzz, it disclosed the
names of users’ email contacts, if users activated Buzz without changing
the defaults. Since then, Google revised the service; now, it merely
suggests followers, rather than automatically creating them.
While the revision was a welcome change, it obviously came too late to
protect the privacy of people like McLaughlin.