Privacy Project

Privacy Project

Follow a Timeline of our Privacy Project

Consumer Watchdog believes consumers have a right to control personal information about them and how -- or if – the data is used by corporations.

Online, consumers should be able to use the Internet without their every move being tracked so they become targets of advertising or so corporate decisions about them are made without a their knowledge.

In the bricks and mortar world, banks and corporations should be required to get your permission before trading or selling private information such as Social Security numbers or account balances.

Medical databases must be protected so that our sensitive health information does not fall into the hands of health care corporations and drug companies interested in using the information for their financial gain.

As the Internet has become increasingly important in consumers’ daily lives, we have focused our recent privacy efforts on protecting consumers online. Consumer Watchdog has promoted federal online privacy legislation that would include a Do Not Track Me function and has worked to educate consumers about how Internet companies gather and use personal information.  We sponsored a Do Not Track bill in the California Legislature.

Rather than deal in abstract concepts, Our Inside Google Project focused on Google as the company that has come to dominate consumers’ use of the Internet.  

We have attempted to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their on-line lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate privacy guarantees, we believe its policies could become the gold standard for the industry, improving the behavior of the entire online sector.

The Privacy Project has now moved beyond the focus on Google as we have begun exposing and confronting the abuses of other online companies such as Facebook.


Google, Amazon Patent Filings Reveal Digital Home Assistant Privacy Problems


Consumers Are Charged More as a Result of Google's Search Monopoly

Traffic Report
How Google is Squeezing out Competitors and Muscling Into New Markets

Lost in the Clouds
Google and the U.S. Government

Liars and Loans
How Dececeptive Advertisers Use Google

Google Wi-Spying Hit Congress
Google’s Wi-Spy snooping could have sucked up and recorded communications from members of Congress, some of whom are involved in national security issues.

Consumer Watchdog Poll Finds Support for Do Not Track rules
Respondents overwhelmingly express support for privacy legislation; Wi-Spy scandal draws concern.



"California Passes Strictest Privacy Law in the Nation"


"Are they Always Listening?  Google Under Fire for Privacy Concerns"


"America Needs a Right to be Forgotten Law"


John Simpson at Google's June 2018 Shareholders Meeting


"How Google's Backing of Backpage Aids Child Sex Trafficking"



Letter to Google Board Oct. 13, 2008
This letter began Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project

Google Executive Bob Boorstin tries to get Consumer Watchdog’s funding cut (Feb. 7, 2009)
This the e-mail exchange between Boorstin and Tim Little, executiuve director of the Rose Foundation.

Letter to U.S Department of Justice, April 1, 2009
Consumer Watchdog Calls on Justice Department to block Google Books Settlement

Consumer Watchdog opposes Google Books Settlement, Sept. 7, 2009
Friend of the court brief argues against deal

Consumer Watchdog, Center for Digital Democracy oppose AdMob deal
Joint letter to Federal Trade Commission says $750 million Acquisition by Google should be blocked

Consumer Watchdog Urges Court to Reject Amended Google Books Deal
Friend of court brief argues settlement continues to steal from absent class members and remains anticompetitive

Consumer Watchdog asks U.S. Justice Department to launch Antitrust action against Google, April 21, 2010
Remedies could include possible break of Internet giant

Consumer Watchdog Asks FTC to investigate Wi-Spy scandal, May 17, 2010
Google’s Streetview cars gathered data from private Wi-Fi networks

White House Reprimands Ex-Googler, May 18, 2010

Freedom of Information Act request from Consumer Watchdog shows inappropriate email communication by Andrew McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Technology Officer

Consumer Watchdog asks state attorneys general to investigate Wi-Spy, May 26, 2010
Letter to National Association of Attorneys General asks AGs to investigate in their respective states

Consumer Watchdog asks White House Counsel to rule administration must distance itself from Google, June 24, 2011
Executives should not attend White House functions while company is under federal investigation

Consumer Watchdog asks FTC to probe Facebook Credits, June 28, 2011
Credits Used In Online Games Violate Antitrust Law

Letter to California DMV, May 30, 2018

A letter calling on DMV to investigate the dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices and representations made by Tesla Motors, Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature.


Letter to the FTC, June 27, 2018 

A letter calling on FTC regarding privacy-invasive default settings on dominant digital platforms, like Google and Facebook.


Complaint to FTC regarding Home Digital Assistants’ Threat to Privacy, December 19, 2017


Request to the FTC to Investigate Google’s YouTube Online Service and Advertising Practices for Violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act


Letter to Google CEO regarding their opposition to amending Section 230 of Communications Decency Act, May 17, 2017


John M. Simpson testifies against Google Books Settlement before House Judiciary Committee, Sept. 10, 2009
Written Testimony:

John M. Simpson raises concerns about consumers’ privacy when government agencies use Web 2.0 technology, before House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. July 22, 2010
Written testimony:



The Future of Online Consumer Protections, A Consumer Watchdog Policy Conference, Washington, DC, Dec. 1, 2010
Agenda, Conference packet, transcript and videos