Consumer Watchdog has launched a 540-square-foot animated
advertisement that mocks Google’s privacy practices by depicting Google
chief executive Eric Schmidt using an ice cream truck to steal secret
information from children.
The advocacy group said the video is
part of its campaign for the creation of a "do-not-track-me" list and is
running twice an hour in New York City’s Times Square. Consumer
Watchdog has been a harsh critic of Google, particularly on privacy
issues, and has launched a website called Inside Google to "educate the
public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous
dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives."
poses a serious threat to our privacy, and our animation is meant to
put a spotlight on the need for Congress to enact a national ‘Do Not
Track Me’ list," wrote Consumer
Watchdog president Jamie Court, citing Google’s "Street View" privacy
controversy and Google’s agreement with Verizon regarding net
The video depicts Schmidt in an ice cream truck telling children, "If
there is anything you don’t want anyone to know, well you shouldn’t be
doing it in the first place." Schmidt recently said
all young people might need to change their names when they get older
to avoid traces of their past accumulated on various social networking
"We like ice cream as much as anyone, but we like privacy even more.
That’s why we provide tools for users to control their privacy online,
like Google Dashboard, Ads Preferences Manager, Chrome incognito mode
and ‘off the record’ Gmail chat," said Google when asked for a response,
directing users to its privacy homepage.
video ends by asking viewers to call Congress and demand the creation
of a list similar to the Federal Trade Commission’s "Do Not Call"
registry, which is supported by other consumer advocacy groups. The FTC
has said any such list would have to be mandated by Congress.