Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Consumer Watchdog Targets Google In "Don't Track Me" Campaign

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 2, 2010

The Washington, DC organization Consumer Watchdog is making a big publicity push for its "Do not track me" campaign, which asks Congress to create a list for people that don't want to be monitored on the Internet.

If the campaign succeeds it will be a massive blow to Internet advertising and e-commerce companies because they will lose the ability to tailor targeted commercial messages and discovering user behaviors across a range of web destinations.

Consumer Watchdog has purchased a 540 sq. Ft. Jumbotron digital billboard on Times Square and is showing a video showing an animation of Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, driving an ice cream truck so that he can spy on kids.


Consumer Watchdog said:

Google has collected massive amounts of personal data from Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars, made private Gmail contacts publicly available on Buzz, and done a complete about-face on net neutrality, joining with Verizon in calling for toll lanes on the Internet.

Schmidt has appeared clueless regarding privacy himself, Consumer Watchdog said. When questioned about privacy, he has said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Recently, he suggested children could change their names when they got older if they wanted to escape what was embarrassing and public in their online lives.

- About 80% of Americans support a national "Do not track me" list according to a poll by Grove Insight.

- 90% said that it is important to “have more laws that protect privacy of your personal information” online.

The poll indicated strong support for:


- Require the creation of an “anonymous button” that allows individuals to stop anyone from tracking their online searches or purchases: 86% favor; 9% oppose.

- Ban the collection of any personal data on children under the age of 18: 84% favor; 10% oppose.

- Prevent online companies from tracking personal information or web searches without your explicit, written approval: 84% favor; 11% oppose.

-- Ban online companies from tracking and storing information related to children’s online behavior so they can target them with advertising: 83% favor; 12% oppose.

- Require the creation of a “do not track me” list for online companies that would be administered by the Federal Trade Commission: 80% favor; 12% oppose.

www.consumerwatchdog.org

http://insidegoogle.com

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