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Privacy Project Timeline

Dec. 20, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog has joined a coalition of 22 consumer and public health advocacy groups calling on the Federal Trade Commission to stop Google’s app store from promoting games that violate children’s privacy, feature inappropriate content, and lure kids to watch ads and make in-app purchases. Google claims that the apps in the “Family” section of the Google Play Store are safe for children, but the apps often violate federal children’s privacy law, expose children to inappropriate content, and disregard Google’s own policies by manipulating children into watching ads and making in-app purchases, the coalition’s complaint said. Read the complaint here: https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/google_ftc…

Dec. 12, 2018 -- Facebook’s latest revealed privacy invasion could have been thwarted if the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act were in effect and the strong state law must not be preempted by weak federal privacy laws, Consumer Watchdog said. For years, the New York Times reported this week, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it disclosed. Companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify got special access to Facebook users’ data without anyone else knowing, the Times said.

Dec. 10, 2018 -- Google’s revelation that its social network Google+ suffered a second major security lapse in less than a year makes clear the Internet giant cannot be trusted to police its own platforms and underscores the need for strong laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act, Consumer Watchdog said. If the law were in effect, the California Consumer Privacy Act would hold Google responsible and the company would face fines if its users’ data was taken because it was mishandled by Google. Victims would also be able to sue Google under the law, which goes into effect in 2020. Consumer Watchdog first pointed out Google’s failure to police its social network in 2013 when it released a seven-month study that found the company had allowed Google+ to become a virtual playground for online predators with explicit sexual content. Read that report here: https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/report/google-playground-online-predat… Google said it would close Google+ in April, five months earlier than planned.

Dec. 6., 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called on House Minority Leader and Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi to stop an effort by the auto industry in the lame duck session to overturn California privacy and auto safety laws governing self-driving cars. New amendments to SB 1885, the AV START Act, give automakers a specific exemption from state privacy law and give exclusive jurisdiction to Trump’s Federal Trade Commission. The self-driving car bill is expected to be added to the federal spending bill, which would circumvent the current hold on the legislation by Senator Feinstein and four other senators. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Pelosi here: https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/LtrPelosi1…

Dec. 3, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog warned that an ongoing revolving door between top government auto safety officials and the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles undercuts the public’s faith in robot car regulations and government policies. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group’s warning came after Uber announced it had hired Nat Beuse, a senior National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official. Beuse, NHTSA Associate Administrator, Vehicle Safety Research, is at least the sixth senior safety official to leave a government position to work for robot car manufacturers.

Nov. 30, 2018 – Marriott International’s massive data breach in which the personal information of up to 500 million guests could have been stolen shows the value of the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act, Consumer Watchdog said. Businesses are already working to weaken the law, the strongest privacy law in the nation which takes effect in 2020. California Legislators must resist those efforts, the nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group said.

Nov. 28, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog has joined an alliance of more than 75 local, state and national organizations representing safety, law enforcement and first responders, public health, bicyclists and pedestrians, engineering, environmental and consumer groups, disability communities and families affected by motor vehicle crashes calling on the U.S. Senate to oppose a flawed autonomous vehicle bill. Read the groups’ letters here: http://saferoads.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Letter-to-Senate-on-AV-…

Nov. 27, 2018 – An association of more than 75 consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic including Consumer Watchdog is asking the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google for unfairly and deceptively manipulating users of mobile phones with the Android operating system into being constantly location-tracked. In a letter to the FTC the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) charged: “Google is removing individuals’ control over their data by deceit.” Read the TACD letter https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2018-11/TACD%20let….

Nov. 15, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to release details of Waymo’s insurance coverage for the 39 driverless robot cars the former Google unit has just received permission to test in the state. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that the DMV’s self-certification approach to granting permits to allow testing of cars without drivers is inadequate to protect highway safety.

Nov. 8, 2018 – Chrysler Fiat has failed to respond to a letter from the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog sent more than two weeks ago identifying a potentially fatal flaw in its 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The group identified the failure of the driver’s side airbag to deploy because of the lack of electrical conductivity due to a clock spring that is the same or similar design as the 1998- 2001 Chrysler Grand Caravan in which a recall of 1.29 million automobiles was ordered.

Oct. 31, 2018 – The California Department of Motor Vehicles approval of Waymo’s application to test driverless robot cars in Santa Clara County is premature and key questions must be answered by both Waymo, Google’s driverless car unit, and the Department before any testing starts, Consumer Watchdog said. Waymo’s entire application should be released to the public immediately, the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group said.

Oct. 30, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog joined the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy and 19 other consumer and health advocacy groups in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to hold app makers accountable for unfair and deceptive practices, including falsely marketing apps that require in-app purchases as "free" and manipulating children to watch ads and make purchases. The call for action by the FTC came as a major new study detailing a host of concerning practices in apps targeted at young children was published. The study, "Advertising in Young Children's Apps," was led by researchers at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and examined the type and content of advertising in 135 children's apps.

Oct. 10, 2018 – The data breach of Google’s social network, Google+, that the company hid since last March, shows that the Internet Giant cannot be trusted to police its own platforms, Consumer Watchdog said. Consumer Watchdog first pointed out Google’s failure to police its social network in 2013 when it released a seven-month study that found the company had allowed Google+ to become a virtual playground for online predators with explicit sexual content.

July 18, 2018 - Consumer Watchdog called on U.S. antitrust authorities to follow the lead of Europe’s top competition official, Margrethe Vestager, and take decisive action against Google for unfairly using its monopoly power on its Android operating system. Consumer Watchdog also today joined the Open Markets Institute, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Digital Democracy, and Fight for the Future in sending a letter to Vestager supporting her action. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-ca…

Jun. 29, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog supported the new privacy law , AB 375, passed in California, calling it a landmark reform and should be a bellwether for America. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/privacy-bills-progress-california-senate-victory-consumers-consumer-watchdog

Jun. 27, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and six other consumer groups in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the misleading and manipulative tactics of Google and Facebook in steering users to “consent” to privacy-invasive default settings. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/eight-consumer-advocacy-groups-call-upon-ftc-investigate-google-and-facebook

Jun. 7, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called upon the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to re-interpret Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act so that Grindr can be held liable for material posted on its platform following a suit brought by a man who was victimized by another user. Read a copy of news release here:http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-calls-upon-circuit-court-re-interpret-internet-law-abused-tech

Jun. 6, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog attended the Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s annual shareholders meeting where they inquired about Google’s lack of support for the California privacy ballot initiative.Read a copy of news release here:http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/google-rejects-open-hand-california-consumer-privacy-act

May 30, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to investigate the dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices and representations made by Tesla Motors, Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/center-auto-safety-and-consumer-watchdog-call-dmv-investigate-deceptive-tesla

May 22, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog released a poll, which surveyed drivers in four states. The poll revealed that drivers have serious safety and privacy concerns when it comes to driverless car technology and want Congress to apply the brakes to robot car technology until it is proven safe.

Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/americans-hit-road-memorial-day-consumer-watchdog-poll-finds-voters-want

May 1, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog backed the Californian Department of Motor Vehicle’s effort that in effect told eight robot car manufacturers to stop beating around the bush and more clearly tell the public how robot cars being tested on public roads are actually performing. Read a copy of news release here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-backs-california-dmvs-call-robot-car-makers-explain-robot-car

Apr. 25, 2018 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the Department of Motor Vehicles to open its application process for granting permits to test driverless robot cars to the public as the department confirmed an applicant had provided all the information necessary to review the application.

Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-calls-dmv-open-robot-car-application-process-public-after

Apr. 12, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called on tech giants Google, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to follow Facebook’s lead and drop their opposition to a California privacy ballot initiative.  The not-for-profit group called on Mark Zuckerberg – as an individual -- to become the public face of the campaign as the poster child for how privacy problems can go awry even when you think you have a handle on them.

Read a copy of news release here:http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-calls-google-verizon-comcast-and-att-follow-facebook-and-drop

Apr. 11, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called on Congress to enact legislation that would protect consumers’ online privacy and not merely facilitate Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s latest public-relations-driven apology tour.Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-calls-congress-act-regulate-facebook-and-protect-online

Apr. 11, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog welcomed President Trump’s signing of FOSTA/SESTA into law, calling it a major victory for victims of Internet sex trafficking and their families, as well as for those hoping to hold technology companies more accountable for the content on their websites.Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-welcomes-law-holds-websites-backpage-accountable-sex

Apr. 9, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog joined a coalition of more than 20 leading U.S. child advocacy, consumer, and privacy groups in filing a complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and sanction Google for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in operating the popular video platform, YouTube.

Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-joins-complaint-charging-googles-youtube-violates-federal

Mar. 28, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog joined a coalition of privacy and consumer groups to warn Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the integrity of elections, in this country and internationally, is at stake, unless Facebook stops electioneering and retains Jimmy Carter to audit Facebook’s influence on elections. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/consumer-groups-zuckerberg-stop-electioneering-let-jimmy-carter-monitor-facebook

Mar. 22, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to fund a California privacy ballot initiative and also tell the social platform’s users if they were among the 50 million people whose data was breached. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-challenges-facebooks-zuckerberg-put-his-money-where-his-mouth

Mar. 21, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog praised the U.S. Senate for passing a bipartisan bill amending a key Internet law that would hold rogue websites like Backpage accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/index.php/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-praises-senate-passing-bill-stop-internet-sex-trafficking

Mar. 20, 2018 – Shortly following the death of a pedestrian killed by a robot car over the weekend in Tempe, Arizona, Consumer Watchdog called on the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to collect more data about robot cars before changing federal policies that would effectively pave the road for unregulated robot cars. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-says-nhtsa-needs-more-data-paving-road-unregulated-robot-cars

Mar. 19, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog called for a national moratorium on robot car testing on public highways, after an Arizona woman was killed by a self-driving robot Uber in Tempe, Arizona.Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-ca…;

Feb. 28, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a bipartisan bill amending a key Internet law so rogue websites like Backpage.com can be held accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-praises-house-passing-bill-stop-internet-sex-trafficking

Feb. 22, 2018 – Consumer Watchdog praised an apparent agreement that would combine language from U.S. Senate and House bills that would allow rogue websites like Backpage to be held accountable for enabling child sex trafficking. Read a copy of news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-praises-apparent-agreement-congress-bill-amend-internet-law.

Feb. 12, 2018 – Autonomous Vehicles are not safe to be deployed on public roads, Consumer Watchdog told the U.S. Senate, basing its warning on an analysis of required reports from companies testing robot cars in California and called on senators to halt a bill that would allow robot cars on public roads.     

Jan. 24, 2018 -- Senate Should Immediately Take Up Internet Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill Backed by 65 Senators, Consumer Watchdog urges.  Read article here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/senate-should-immediately-take-internet-anti-sex-trafficking-bill-backed-65

Jan. 4, 2018 -- The failure of virtually all robot car developers to publish safety self-assessments described in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s policy on automated driving systems demonstrates the failure of voluntary standards to protect highway safety, Consumer Watchdog said. Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/companies-failure-publish-robot-car-safety-self-assessments-shows-nhtsas

Dec. 19, 2017 – Consumer Watchdog called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and take action against Google and Amazon for deceptively marketing their Home and Echo digital assistants and charged the two Internet giants’ devices also violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Read a copy of the letter to the FTC here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/LtrFTC121917.pdf

Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-asks-ftc-act-against-google-home-amazon-echo-digital

Dec. 13, 2017 – Internet giants Amazon and Google are slashing prices and offering supposed deals on their “digital assistants” this holiday season, but a study of patent applications associated with the devices reveals plans for massive surveillance of users’ homes, Consumer Watchdog warned. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/home-assistant-adopter-beware-google-amazon-digital-assistant-patents-reveal

Read study here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Digital%20Assistants%20and%20Privacy.pdf

Dec. 6, 2017 – Consumer Watchdog joined Privacy International and other public interest groups in an international call for car rental companies to protect the privacy of driver and passenger data their rented vehicles collect. “Today’s cars are little more than rolling computers that amass huge amounts of information,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project Director.  “When you rent a car, you must have the right to control how that extremely revealing data is used.”  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-joins-international-call-rental-car-firms-protect-driver-data

Dec. 1, 2017 – The California Department of Motor Vehicles is heeding a warning from Consumer Watchdog and has just dropped language suggested by General Motors from its proposed robot car regulations that would have let self-driving car automakers escape liability for crashes and shift the burden to consumers.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/california-dmv-heeds-consumer-watchdog-warning-proposed-robot-car-liability

Nov. 21, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog t backed the U.S. Department of Justice suit to block AT&T’s planned purchase of Time Warner for $85 billion, saying that the proposed deal would give the giant company too much control over both content and distribution, limiting consumers’ choice and ultimately costing them more money. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-backs-justice-department-bid-block-85-billion-att-time-warner

Nov. 16, 2017 – Language adopted from a General Motors suggestion by the California Department of Motor Vehicles in its revised proposed autonomous vehicle regulations would “let robot carmakers railroad consumers” into being liable for car crashes when the robot driver fails and the rule exceeds DMV’s authority, Consumer Watchdog warned. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the DMV here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/LtrDMV111417.pdf  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-warns-dmv-adopted-gm-robot-car-rule-language-exceeds-its

Nov. 7, 2017 -- Waymo, (formerly Google’s self-driving car division) must publicly release key information about its robot cars’ driving records in Arizona before it turns the vehicles loose on Phoenix streets and uses passengers as human guinea pigs, Consumer Watchdog said. The group added that the most recent information required to be filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Waymo’s cars aren’t ready to be deployed without drivers. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/google-must-release-robot-car-safety-record-using-riders-guinea-pigs

Nov. 3, 2017 – Consumer Watchdog praised California Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein for supporting bipartisan Congressional efforts to amend a key Internet law so rogue websites like Backpage.com can be held accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking. The bill S. 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), creates the first liability for online companies that aid and abet underage sex trafficking. Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-praises-senators-harris-feinstein-supporting-law-stop-sex

Oct. 26, 2017 – Revised proposed California regulations covering the deployment of autonomous vehicles amount to a "license to kill" because they provide no enforceable safety standards and new amendments would allow automakers to escape responsibility when their robot technology fails, Consumer Watchdog said in comments filed with the Department of Motor Vehicls. Read the comments here:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/dmvautonomousvehiclecomments102517.pdf  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/consumer-watchdog-tells-california-dmv-revised-robot-car-rules-are-license-kill

Oct. 23, 2017 – AT&T and Google third-quarter lobbying expenditures this year both topped $4 million with the telecommunications conglomerate barely edging out the Internet giant for having spent the most money in the period to influence federal policymakers, Consumer Watchdog said.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/att-google-3rd-quarter-lobbying-expenditures-shape-policy-top-4-million-each

Oct. 11, 2017 -- Revised regulations formally proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles covering deployment of robot cars and testing of self-driving cars without steering wheels weaken safety protections because they wrongly rely on nonexistent federal safety standards, Consumer Watchdog said. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group called for the California regulations to be strengthened before they take effect and said the DMV should also immediately begin a rulemaking to enact regulations covering the testing of self-driving robot trucks. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/revised-dmv-robot-car-rules-would-weaken-safety-protections-consumer-watchdog-warns

Oct. 3, 2017 -- A confidential settlement in a civil suit brought in Seattle against Backpage by three of the website’s victims will not stop a bipartisan Congressional effort to amend a key Internet law so websites that facilitate sex trafficking can be prosecuted, Consumer Watchdog said. Word of the legal settlement came as IBM Corp. endorsed a bipartisan Senate bill to amend the law and the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the House version of the bill. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/backpage%E2%80%99s-court-settlement-three-its-sex-trafficking-victims-won%E2%80%99t-stop-bipartisan-effo

Sept. 28, 2017 -- An autonomous vehicles bill introduced in the U.S. Senate follows the dangerous route chosen by the House of Representatives when it rushed to pass a bill that threatens highway safety and leaves a regulatory void rather than enacting necessary protections and safety standards, Consumer Watchdog warned. The bipartisan American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act introduced today is scheduled to be “marked up” by the Senate Commerce Committee next week. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/senate-%E2%80%9Cbipartisan%E2%80%9D-robot-car-bill-threatens-highway-safety-consumer-watchdog-warns

Sept. 14, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called upon the executives of Google and Facebook to testify at a Senate hearing next week – rather than hide – and explain their position that a key Internet law should not be amended so websites that facilitate online sex trafficking, like Backpage can be held accountable. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-google-facebook-executives-testify-internet-law-and-not-hide

 

Sept. 13, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog praised 21st Century Fox for joining Tech giant Oracle and CoStar Group in supporting a bipartisan Congressional effort to amend a key Internet law so rogue websites like Backpage can be held accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-21st-century-fox-backing-amendment-internet-law-stop-online-se

Sept. 12, 2017 -- The new Federal autonomous vehicle policy poses a threat to highway safety, Consumer Watchdog warned and the nonpartisan nonprofit group called for the enactment of enforceable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards specifically covering self-driving cars. Dubbed a “Vision for Safety 2.0” and released by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the new policy emphasizes the voluntary nature of the new federal guidelines. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/new-federal-robot-car-guidelines-threaten-highway-safety-consumer-watchdog-warns

Sept. 12, 2017 -- The National Transportation Safety Board’s finding that Tesla’s Autopilot shares the blame for a fatal crash with a truck in Florida last year underscores the need for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards covering automated driver assistance technologies, Consumer Watchdog said. The NTSB’s findings came an hour before the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released new autonomous vehicle guidance, “A Vision for Safety 2.0,” which explicitly ignored so-called Level 2 technologies like Autopilot. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/ntsb-finding-tesla%E2%80%99…;

Sept. 11, 2017 -- Internet giant Google appears to be manipulating its search engine results to favor opposition to bipartisan efforts seeking to amend a key Internet law so websites like Backpage that facilitate online sex trafficking can be held accountable, Consumer Watchdog said. Three of the top four links returned under the news tab for the search term “Section 230” were to articles from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a staunch opponent of amending the Internet law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Consumer Watchdog found. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-appears-be-manipulating-its-search-engine-results-defend-internet-law-enables-s-0  Click here to view screenshots of the results from the three search engines.

 Sept. 8, 2017 -- Giant credit bureau Equifax’s response to a data breach and its offer for free credit monitoring for victims may violate California law, Consumer Watchdog said. The group called for Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate. California law requires that a company whose database was breached must provide a year of free credit monitoring to the victims and that notification of the breach “be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/equifax%E2%80%99s-data-breach-response-credit-monitoring-offer-may-violate-california-law-consum

Sept. 20, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog praised Tech giant Oracle for breaking ranks with the rest of the industry and supporting bipartisan Congressional efforts to amend a key Internet law so rogue websites like Backpage can be held accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking CoStar Group Inc., a real estate technology company that operates Apartments.com, also said in a letter to U.S. Senators that it supports amending the law. The company said it focused on the issue after discovering information through a copyright infringement legal case linking Backpage to sex trafficking. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-tech-giant-oracle-support-amending-internet-law-stop-sex-traff

Sept. 6, 2017 -- A bill covering autonomous vehicles that the House of Representatives rushed to pass today threatens highway safety and leaves a regulatory void rather than enacting necessary protections, Consumer Watchdog warned. The bill, passed on a voice vote, under rules to expedite consideration, was being touted in some quarters as an example of new-found Congressional bipartisanship. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/house-%E2%80%9Cbipartisan%E2%80%9D-robot-car-bill-threatens-highway-safety-consumer-watchdog-warns

Aug. 30, 2017 -- News that the New America Foundation shut down its Open Markets unit after the group expressed support of European antitrust enforcement action against Internet giant Google shows how Washington think tanks live in fear of incurring Google’s ire and losing their funding, Consumer Watchdog said. The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group warned that staunch opposition to bipartisan Congressional efforts to amend a key internet law that would allow rogue websites like Backpage.com to be held accountable for aiding sex trafficking may be motivated by a fear of losing Google money. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/washington-think-tanks-live-fear-google%E2%80%99s-ire

Aug. 24, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog took the fight against Amazon’s deceptive pricing practices to the state level after the Federal Trade Commission approved a $14 billion deal for the online retailing giant to buy Whole Foods. The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group filed petitions asking 11 state attorneys general to act against Amazon’s deceptive pricing. Backing up the petitions were two in-depth studies showing how Amazon uses bogus reference process to leave the impression with consumers that they are getting discounts when, in fact, they are not. Consumer Watchdog petitioned the attorneys general of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Read a sample petition (to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring) here. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-takes-fight-against-online-giant-amazon%E2%80%99s-deceptive-pricing-11-states

Aug. 21, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog backed a proposed city ordinance that would ban self-driving robot cars from the streets of Chicago unless the federal government enacts enforceable safety standards for autonomous vehicles. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that testing autonomous vehicles would be appropriate if adequate safeguards were in place, including a trained human test driver behind a steering wheel and brake pedal. Read Consumer Watchdog’s testimony here. Read the Chicago City Council Ordinance here. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-banning-robot-cars-chicago-until-feds-act-safety-regulations

Aug. 8, 2017 -- Internet giant Google, which claims the motto “Don’t Be Evil,” is leaning on U.S. lawmakers to oppose legislation fixing a key Internet law that shields websites enabling online child sex-trafficking, and would finally let victims hold rogue websites like Backpage accountable, Consumer Watchdog said. Google, whose Political Action Committee NETPAC gave $2.18 million in campaign contributions in the 2016 election cycle and spent a record $5.93 million in federal lobbying in the second quarter of this year, blasted an email to Congress members and staff asking they “recognize the controversial nature of this issue” and not support bills that would amend Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Until now Google has largely remained behind the scenes and used surrogates to oppose amending the Internet law. E. Stewart Jeffries, Google Public Policy Counsel/s email here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/googlecongressemail080317.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-steps-out-shadows-press-congress-keep-shielding-online-child-sex-trafficking

Aug. 1, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog warned that the tech industry is pressing the Trump Administration to adopt language in a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal that would protect websites like the notorious Backpage.com that facilitate child sex-trafficking.  The tech industry efforts come as Congress is taking bipartisan steps so websites like Backpage.com can be held accountable by victims and their families. Twenty-one Senators introduced a bill Tuesday, endorsed by Consumer Watchdog, amending a key Internet law to combat such abuses. A similar House bill has 101 co-sponsors. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrnafta072717.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-big-tech-trying-pull-end-run-around-new-bipartisan-congressional

July 27, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog warned that a bill approved by the House Commerce Committee that would pre-empt state autonomous vehicle safety regulations would leave a regulatory void without meaningful safety protections.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-bill-pre-empting-state-robot-car-laws-approved-house-commerce-co

July 20, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the House Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee to hold immediate hearings on a bill amending a key Internet law so websites like Backpage.com that facilitate child sex trafficking can be held accountable by victims and state attorneys general. The bipartisan bill, Rep. Ann Wagner’s H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, has 34 co-sponsors. It would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That section provides that a website can’t be held liable for what’s posted on its site by third parties. Tech companies and other defenders of CDA Section 230 claim it promotes and protects free expression on the Internet. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here:    http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltcommercebackpage072017.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-immediate-congressional-hearings-bipartisan-bill-change-internet

July 19, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on California’s seven members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to block proposed federal legislation that would undo California’s ground-breaking safety regulations covering the testing of autonomous vehicles. The House bill was being considered by the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection.  It would prevent states from enacting any regulations covering the safety of autonomous vehicles, even though the federal government has enacted no safety standards for self-driving cars. It also threatens to pre-empt insurance, licensing, liability and other areas that have been the purview of states. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-california-representatives-oppose-congressional-robot-car-legisl

July 11, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to promptly adopt enforceable federal safety standards covering self-driving autonomous vehicles and warned that if the federal efforts stall, states must act immediately to fill the void and protect consumer safety. John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy project director was speaking at Automated Vehicles Symposium 2017 in San Francisco. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/nhtsa-must-quickly-enact-enforceable-safety-standards-robot-cars-or-states-must-move-if-

July 10, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog warned consumers about Amazon’s deceptive pricing practices and said its dubious behavior means its big promotion on Tuesday should be called ‘Slime Day,” not “Prime Day.” The nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group also called on antitrust authorities to block Amazon’s proposed $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods “until the online retailing giant formally consents to halt its deceptive pricing practices that falsely lead consumers to believe they are getting deals with discounted prices.” The group also released a video highlighting how Amazon cites bogus reference prices to leave the impression consumers are getting a discount, when they are not. Click here to view the video. Click here to read Consumer Watchdog’s June report, “Amazon’s New Consumer Deception”. Click here to read the March report, “Is Amazon Moving Away from Misleading List Prices? Not So Fast”. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/amazon-slimes-public-price-savings-exaggeration-prime-day-consumer-watchdog-says

June 27, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on U.S. antitrust regulators to act against Google’s anti-competitive practices in the wake of the European Commission’s record $2.7 billion fine against Google for violating antitrust law and illegally favoring its comparison shopping service over competitors in its search results. The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to bring antitrust charges against Google for unfairly favoring its own services in the Android operating system used on mobile devices. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-us-antitrust-authorities-act-against-google%E2%80%99s-anti-competitive-p

June 26, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on Congress to ensure the adoption of federal safety standards to cover self-driving autonomous vehicles and warned that proposed House legislation that would pre-empt state safety regulations “would leave a regulatory void without meaningful safety protections.” Read Consumer Watchdog’s statement here. View the Subcommittee hearing here. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-congress-ensure-safety-standards-robot-cars

June 14, 2017 -- Robot cars operating without mandatory safety, security, privacy and ethical standards will pose unprecedented risks to the American public, Consumer Watchdog warned in a report, Self-Driving Vehicles: The Threat to Consumers. The report was issued in conjunction with a day-long program, Driverless Cars: The Legal Landscape, sponsored by George Washington University Law School and a hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee, Paving the Way for Self-Driving Vehicles. Read the report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/self_driving_consumer_threat_report.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/unregulated-robot-cars-pose-unprecedented-risks-and-costs-consumer-watchdog-report-warns

June 6, 2017 -- Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, refused to back a change in Internet law that would enable victims to hold websites that intentionally facilitate online child sex-trafficking accountable, at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. The refusal came from Kent Walker, Sr. Vice President and General Counsel of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, in response to a question asked by Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson, an Alphabet Inc. shareholder, on behalf of Nacole S. whose daughter was sold repeatedly for sex through Backpage.com. Their story was documented in the film I am Jane Doe. View a video clip of the exchange: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCu6MvTWmDk&feature=youtu.be. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-blows-plea-mother-child-sex-trafficking-victim

May 26, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog endorsed a proposed bill in the New York State Assembly that would provide the so-called “Right To Be Forgotten,” allowing people to request removal of material and search engine links from their name to information that is inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive from the Internet. Another key provision of the bill is that the statute of limitations to bring an action for defamation, should an item be libelous, would start when an article is removed from the Internet, not when it was first published. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter about the bill, A5323 (Weprin), to Assembly Government Operations Committee Chair Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrrtbf052517.pdf

May 23, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on tech companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Microsoft, to support amending a key Internet law so websites like Backpage.com that facilitate child sex trafficking can be held accountable by victims and state attorneys general. Consumer Watchdog’s call came at the start of what Congress has called “Combatting Trafficking and Child Protection Week.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-tech-firms-support-change-internet-law-so-child-sex-trafficking-

May 17, 2017-- A coalition of anti-child sex trafficking and public interest groups, and the mother of a trafficking victim, released a report detailing how a Google-funded campaign protects a law that shields a notorious hub of child sex-trafficking, Backpage.com, from any accountability for its activities. Google and the organizations it funds purport to be protecting free speech on the Internet. The coalition challenged Google – and the organizations it funds – to acknowledge the damage Backpage has caused and to support changes in a key internet law – Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act -- that shields the child sex-trafficking hub from accountability for its ongoing abuses. Joining in issuing the report were the victim’s mother Nacole S., Consumer Watchdog, DeliverFund, Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Rebecca Project and Trafficking In America Taskforce. View a copy of the report, How Google’s Backing of Backpage Protects Child Sex Trafficking, here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/backpagereport.pdf. Read the groups’ letter to the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, Larry Page, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt and Google CEO Sundar Pichai here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltralphabetgooglebackpage051717final.pdf. View news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/report-shows-how-google-funded-defense-child-sex-trafficking-hub

 

April 27, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that Uber Technologies had deceptively tracked users of its app after people thought they had deleted it from their iPhone. Read Consumer Watchdog’s formal complaint here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrftc042717.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-files-complaint-ftc-over-ubers-unfair-and-deceptive-tracking

April 25, 2017 – Regulations proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles covering the deployment of robot cars are “premature and irresponsible” Consumer Watchdog told the DMV, saying that they wrongly rely on non-existent federal safety standards. The nonprofit, nonpartisan group said that the proposed expanded regulations covering testing could be enacted with some amendments to improve public safety, but added that those regulations covering deployment of robot cars for the public should be withheld. The proposed expanded regulations were the subject of a hearing in Sacramento. Read Consumer Watchdog’s written comments here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/dmvavcomments042417.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-california-dmv-proposed-robot-car-deployment-rules-are-premature

April 4, 2017 -- The credibility of autonomous vehicle policy issued last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was completely undermined when former NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind announced he has taken a job with robot car developer Zoox, said Consumer Watchdog. The group called on the Senate to refuse to confirm the next nominee for NHTSA administrator unless the nominee pledges not to work as an employee or consultant to the auto industry or developers of self-driving car technology for at least seven years after leaving the position. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/former-nhtsa-chief-rosekind%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-move-robot-car-company-zoox-calls-agency%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-self-driving-po

March 27, 2017 – A crash involving an Uber robot car in Arizona shows the need for Uber to take the Safe Autonomous Vehicles (SAVe) Campaign pledge and agree to accept responsibility when one of its self-driving cars causes a crash, Consume Watchdog said. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group also called on Uber to release all video and technical details related to the Friday crash. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/uber%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-arizona-crash-highlights-need-company-accept-responsibility-when-robot-driving-te

March 20, 2017 – Consumer Watchdog petitioned the California Attorney General to investigate Amazon, the gargantuan online retailer, for misleading consumers by often leading them to believe they are getting deals with discounted prices, when they are not.  The charges are based on an extensive research analysis of Amazon’s website and a comparison with prices easily available elsewhere. Read a copy of Consumer Watchdog’s petition here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrbecerr032017.pdf. Read the full research report documenting Amazon’s misleading practices here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/atp_pricing_2.0.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-california-attorney-general-investigate-amazon-pricing-practices-

March 10, 2017 -- New regulations formally proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles covering deployment of robot cars and testing of self-driving cars without steering wheels weaken safety protections, Consumer Watchdog said. The group called for the regulations to be strengthened before they take effect. It also called on the DMV to immediately begin a rulemaking to enact regulations covering self-driving robot trucks. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/new-proposed-dmv-robot-car-rules-weaken-safety-protections-consumer-watchdog-warns

March 8, 2017 -- Uber received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its robot cars in the state and Consumer Watchdog warned that the cars should not carry passengers while still being tested. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/california-dmv-grants-uber-permit-test-robot-cars-state-consumer-watchdog-warns-cars-sho

Feb. 16, 2017-- Five public interest groups have joined in proposing 10 key steps to the Federal Trade ​Commission that they said the agency must take to ensure the FTC adequately protects consumers. Signing the letter to the FTC were the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, The Electronic Privacy Information Center and U.S. PIRG. Read the group’s letter here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/epic_et_al_ltr_ftc_2017_02.15.2017.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-groups-propose-10-…;

Feb. 1, 2017 -- Disengagement reports from companies testing robot cars on California's public roads released by the Department of Motor Vehicles show the technology is not ready to be deployed without human drivers behind a steering wheel who can take control when the self-driving technology fails, Consumer Watchdog said. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-top-us-transportation-chiefs-not-work-self-driving-car-industry-

Jan. 30, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to ask Police Chief Bill Scott to have police closely monitor Uber’s activities as it brings its robot cars back on the city’s streets, claiming they will now only gather data and not be in self-driving mode. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrlee013017.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-sf-mayor-lee-direct-city-police-monitor-uber%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-robot-cars-vehicl

Jan. 19, 2017 – In a last-minute action by the outgoing administration, the National Highway Traffic Administration ended its probe of the fatal crash of a Tesla in Florida last May by wrongly blaming the driver instead of the car’s “Autopilot” technology, Consumer Watchdog said. Read NHTSA’s report closing the Tesla investigation here: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2016/INCLA-PE16007-7876.PDF. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93midnight-action%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D-nhtsa-ends-probe-fatal-tesla-florida-crash-accepting-company%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-propaga. View a Consumer Watchdog video revealing Tesla’s hype here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDv9TEXtHzw

Jan. 5, 2017 -- Consumer Watchdog called on Uber to release information about testing its robot cars in Arizona after pulling them out of San Francisco and to answer 10 questions about its vision for self-driving vehicles. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to CEO Travis Kalanick here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrkalanick010417.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-uber-release-robot-car-test-data-answer-ten-questions

Dec. 21, 2016 -- Uber is refusing to obtain required permits to test robot cars on San Francisco streets in order to keep test information secret and avoid public scrutiny, Consumer Watchdog said. The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Attorney General have told Uber that the company must get permits or face legal action. A meeting between Uber executives and the Attorney General’s staff was set for today. Twenty companies have obtained permits. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/uber-refusing-get-robot-car-permits-keep-test-data-secret-consumer-watchdog-says

 Dec. 20, 2016 -- A witness saw an Uber robot car drive through a red light in San Francisco three weeks ago and Consumer Watchdog has shared details of the incident with the Department of Motor Vehicles to help it prepare legal action against the renegade firm. Uber began offering rides with its self-driving cars without the required state permit on Dec. 14.  The red-light violation occurred well before that, according to Christopher Koff, who witnessed the incident. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the DMV here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltsoublet122016redated.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/witness-saw-uber-robot-car-drive-through-red-light-three-weeks-ago-san-francisco

 

Dec. 19, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that Google violated the law and an earlier consent agreement when it forced a change in its privacy policy on users in a highly deceptive manner, without meaningful notice and consent. The Internet giant’s action, taken on June 28, is an unfair and deceptive practice, violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act and also violates the terms of the “Buzz Consent Agreement” Google signed with the agency, the two California-based consumer advocacy organizations’ formal complaint said. Read the Consumer Watchdog and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse complaint here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ftc_google_complaint_12-5-2016docx.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-privacy-rights-clearinghouse-file-complaint-over-google%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93deceptive%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D-

Dec. 14, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on San Francisco police to impound Uber’s robot cars operating without a permit on city streets and asked City Attorney Dennis Herrera to file criminal charges against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. California Motor Vehicle Code requires a permit for testing autonomous vehicles in the state. Violating the Motor Vehicle Code can be a misdemeanor criminal offense, punishable by up to six months in jail. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-san-francisco-police-impound-uber%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-renegade-robot-cars

Dec. 13, 2016 -- Google’s new name for its robot car division, “Waymo,” fits, Consumer Watchdog said, because it reminds us that we must know “way more” about robot cars and the serious policy issues they raise before self-driving cars can be safely deployed.In announcing the new stand-alone robot car company CEO John Krafcik said self-driving cars would come with steering wheels and pedals for now, an apparent reversal of earlier plans. He said the company won’t make cars, but will partner with traditional automakers. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-renames-robot-car-unit-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93waymo%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D-reminding-us-we-need-know-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93way-more%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D

Nov. 29, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog has petitioned the California Department of Motor Vehicles to immediately start a formal rulemaking to expedite a proposed regulation banning misleading advertising that leaves the dangerous – and sometimes fatal – impression that a car is more capable of driving itself than is actually the case. The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group referred the DMV to its new video documenting how Tesla hyped its vehicles’ “Autopilot” feature, clearly leaving the false impression the cars were self-driving. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrdmv112316.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-california-dmv-expedite-rule-banning-misleading-robot-car-adverti

Nov. 11, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to enact Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards covering autonomous vehicles, saying that a lack of enforceable performance standards covering the vehicles "threatens the safety of the nation's highways." In conjunction with Consumer Watchdog's planned NHTSA testimony, the group released a video showing that Tesla promoted its "Autopilot" feature with inflated claims and Elon Musk's wife driving with her hands off the wheel. However, after the deaths of two drivers, one in Florida and one in China, Musk blamed them for not keeping their hands on the wheel. View Consumer Watchdog's Tesla video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDv9TEXtHzw. Read John M. Simpson's NHTSA testimony here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/nhtsatestimony111016.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/nhtsa-must-enact-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-robot-cars-consumer-watchdog-says

Oct. 27, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomed the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadband privacy rules enacted on a 3-to-2 vote as a major step toward protecting consumers’ online privacy, but added it is now necessary to extend protections to cover the rest of the Internet. Read the FCC Factsheet here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-broadband-consumer-privacy-rules. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-welcomes-fcc%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-new-broadband-privacy-rules-passed-3-2-vote

Oct. 20, 2016 -- Google increased its 2016 third-quarter federal lobbying spending 4.2 percent to $3.81 million from $3.65 million in the comparable 2015 period, but fell to second place in lobbying expenditures among 16 technology and communications companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog. AT&T took the lead as its spending soared more than $1 million in 2016’s third quarter to $4.11 million, a 41.7 percent increase from $2.90 million in the third quarter of 2015. In the 2014 period the telecommunications giant spent percent $3.47 million. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-raises-3rd-quarter-lobbying-42-percent-381-million-spending-falls-behind-att%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-41

Oct. 19, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to prohibit autonomous vehicles without a human driver capable of taking control until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) enacts enforceable standards covering the safety performance of robot cars. NHTSA has proposed a voluntary safety checklist that contains no enforceable standards. The proposed DMV rules would require manufacturers to submit that federal checklist before testing or deploying robot cars. Consumer Watchdog testified that the checklist is inadequate to protect public safety on the roads, and that DMV must therefore prohibit driverless cars until enforceable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are in place. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-dmv-not-allow-robot-cars-public-roads-until-feds-enact-safety-st

Oct. 6, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog today welcomed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed broadband privacy regulations, saying that if enacted the rules would offer consumers significant control over how broadband internet access providers can use much of their customers’ personal data. Read a fact sheet about the proposed FCC rules here: https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db1006/DOC-341633A1.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-welcomes-fcc-chairman%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-broadband-consumer-privacy-regulations

Sept. 20, 2016 -- The Obama Administration appears to have heeded many concerns raised by safety advocates in its new self-driving automated vehicle policy released, Consumer Watchdog said. Consumer Watchdog added that it is studying the model state policy and that there are concerns about possible pre-emption of strong state regulations like those in California.  View news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/administration-heeded-safety-concerns-self-driving-car-policy-consumer-watchdog-says-que

Sept. 14, 2016 -- The new revelation of a second fatal Tesla crash while the vehicle was likely on autopilot shows the company cannot be trusted to deal with deadly failures in its vehicles and underscores the need for enforceable federal safety standards covering autonomous vehicle technology. China’s CCTV reported that Gao Yaning, 23, died in January after crashing into the back of a road sweeping truck near Handan, 300 miles south of Beijing. CCTV said the Tesla Model S was on autopilot. View CCTV’s coverage of the crash, including video taken from the Tesla, here: https://youtu.be/-wzqGwUr47s. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/second-fatal-tesla-crash-shows-firm-can%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2t-be-trusted-need-mandatory-safety-standards

 

Sept. 13, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on President Obama to delay expected autonomous vehicle policies and stop the administration’s undue haste to get autonomous vehicle technology on the road after newly released documents showed “an inappropriate and possibly unethical relationship between Google and key members of your administration involved in developing autonomous vehicle policy.” Emails from 2011 through 2016 between Google employees and White House, NHTSA and Department of Transportation officials obtained by the Campaign for Accountability show Google used its influence in the Obama administration to push its vision for self-driving cars, enlisting White House officials and federal regulators to lobby state officials about rules that might have hindered the Internet giant’s business plans. Read the Campaign for Accountability’s report and the email exchange here: http://www.googletransparencyproject.org/articles/google-enlisted-obama-officials-lobby-states-driverless-cars. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltobamaav091316.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-president-obama-hold-new-policy-autonomous-vehicles-after-docume

Sept. 7, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog today called on Uber to make public details of its testing of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and to answer ten key questions about its robot car program and plans. “You have opted to use public roads as your laboratory and with that comes a responsibility to fully disclose exactly what you are doing both when things go right and when they inevitably go wrong,” wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project director in a letter to Uber Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Kalanick here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrkalanick090716.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-uber-make-robot-car-test-details-public-poses-10-key-questions

July 28, 2016 -- Auto safety advocates today told National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind that “you inexcusably are rushing full speed ahead” to promote the deployment of self-driving robot car technology instead of developing adequate safety standards “crucial to ensuring imperfect technologies do not kill people by being introduced into vehicles before the technology matures.” A letter to Rosekind from Joan Claybrook, former NHTSA administrator and President Emeritus of Public Citizen; Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog and John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, was in response to Rosekind’s recent assertion that NHTSA cannot “stand idly by while we wait for the perfect” before self-driving robot car technologies are deployed. Read the advocates' letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrrosekind072816.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/robot-car-technology-requires-thorough-testing-enforceable-safety-standards-auto-safety-

July 20, 2016 -- Google trimmed its spending on federal lobbying in the second quarter of 2016 by 8.2 percent from the year before to $4.24 million, according to disclosure forms just filed with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, but still significantly outspent other tech and communications giants. Google spent $4.62 million, million on federal lobbying in the second quarter of 2015 and $3.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. Thirteen of the 16 tech and communications companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog also trimmed the lobbying expenditures in the quarter.  Three companies increased their outlays as Amazon and Oracle set records in their efforts to influence policymakers during the second quarter. Amazon’s spending on lobbying increased 39.5 percent to a record $3 million in the second quarter of 2016 from $2.15 million in the comparable 2015 period. Oracle spent $1.92 million in 2016, a record and 11 percent increase from $1.73 million in 2015. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-continues-lead-pack-federal-lobbying-expenditures-most-tech-firms-cut-outlays-ama

July 13, 2016 -- A coalition of auto safety advocates called on President Obama to stop his “administration’s undue haste to get autonomous vehicle technology to the road” until enforceable safety standards are in place.  They said the administration’s autonomous vehicle “guidance” expected next week should not be issued. “The error in rushing autonomous vehicle technology into cars and onto public highways without enforceable safety rules was underscored by the recent tragic fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in Florida while autopilot was engaged,” the coalition’s letter said. The letter to Obama was signed by Joan Claybrook, President Emeritus of Public Citizen and Former NHTSA Administrator; Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety; Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS); and John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director for Consumer Watchdog. Read the coalition’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrobamaav071316.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/auto-safety-advocates-tell-obama-stop-rush-get-self-driving-cars-road-pull-back-autonomo

 

July 8, 2016 -- In the wake of a fatal crash in Florida Consumer Watchdog called on Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk to disable his car’s “autopilot” feature until it is shown to be safe and said if it is offered in the future Tesla must pledge to be liable if something goes wrong with its self-driving technology. Consumer Watchdog also expressed concern that Tesla was developing a pattern of blaming victims in crashes when the autopilot feature was engaged. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrmusk070716.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-elon-musk-disable-tesla%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-autopilot-says-company-must-pledge-be-

 

June 23, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog said it opposes SB 726, a California Senate Bill that would curtail the ability for critics to speak out against questionable business practices.The bill was introduced as by Sen. Ben Hueso. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrsb726062216ver5.pdf Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-opposes-california-sen-hueso%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-bill-would-limit-criticism-shady-busine

June 15, 2016 -- The “Privacy Best Practice Recommendations for Commercial Facial Recognition Use” that finally emerged from the multi-stakeholder process convened by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are not worthy of being described as “best practices.” They reaffirm the decision by consumer and privacy advocates to withdraw from the proceedings. In aiming to provide a “flexible and evolving approach to the use of facial recognition technology” they provide scant guidance for businesses and no real protection for individuals, and make a mockery of the Fair Information Practice Principles on which they claim to be grounded. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/statement-ntia-privacy-best-practice-recommendations-commercial-facial-recognition-use

June 15, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog said it opposes a proposed Los Angeles City ordinance that would require home sharing platforms like Airbnb to turn over massive amounts of personal information to the city on a monthly basis, because it would violate consumers’ privacy and is little more than a “blank search warrant” for law enforcement authorities. Consumer Watchdog’s concern is with the ordinance’s provision to require Internet home sharing sites, such as Airbnb, to turn over to Los Angeles on a monthly basis the home sharing registration number, address, number of nights rented, and amount paid to every owner that rents their property through the home sharing site. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrlahomesharing061316.pdf Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-opposes-p…;

June 14, 2016 – A federal appeals court ruling upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and saying broadband internet access providers can be regulated like telephone companies is a big win for consumers, Consumer Watchdog said, adding that the FCC must now rapidly enact important privacy protections. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumers-win-big-internet-…;

May 24, 2016 -- The Federal Communications Commission’s plan to open the set-top box market to competition offers savings to consumers, but should not be enacted unless a Pandora’s box of privacy issues are resolved with robust privacy protection regulations, Consumer Watchdog said in comments filed with the agency. Read comments here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/fccset-top052316.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/fcc%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-set-top-box-plan-would-increase-competition-and-cut-costs-should-not-be-enacted-un

May 18, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind to “slam the revolving door” with the robot car industry shut with a written commitment that they will not work as an employee or consultant to developers of self-driving autonomous vehicles for at least seven years after leaving their respective positions. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrfoxxrosekind051816.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-top-us-transportation-chiefs-not-work-self-driving-car-industry-

May 11, 2016-- Consumer Watchdog joined a coalition of a dozen consumer groups in supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to implement privacy regulations covering broadband Internet access providers. Signing the letter to the Senate Judiciary’s Privacy Subcommittee were: American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Democracy and Technology, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Federation of California, Consumer Watchdog, Demand Progress, Free Press, Open Technology Institute at New America, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and Public Knowledge. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/2016-05-11_flake_franken_hearing_letter_may_11.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-groups-back-fcc-rulemaking-internet-privacy-protections

April 27, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require a steering wheel, brake and accelerator so a human driver can take control of a self-driving robot car when safety demands it in the guidelines it is developing on automated vehicle technology. To dramatize the point, Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson gave executives from Google’s self-driving car project a steering wheel.  Simpson and a Google representative spoke at a NHTSA public meeting about automated vehicle technology. Simpson, the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group’s Privacy Project Director, also gave NHTSA ten questions about Google’s self-driving project. Read Simpson’s comments to NHTSA here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/nhtsatestimony042716.pdf. Read mews release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-says-nhtsa-must-protect-safety-require-steering-wheel-driver-robot-car

April 20, 2016 -- Google slashed spending on lobbying by 25.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to $3.80 million, while AT&T reported the highest lobbying outlay at $4.48 million among a group of 16 tech and communications companies monitored by Consumer Watchdog. Google spent $5.10 million in the comparable 2015 period and AT&T’s spending was up 2.5 percent from $4.37 million in 2015, according to disclosure reports just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Facebook, which has been increasing its Washington presence, spent $2.78 million, an increase of 13.9 percent from $2.44 million, in the comparable 2015 quarter. Microsoft also topped $2 million in lobbying spending. It reported expenditures of $2.02 million, an increase of 6.9 percent from $1.89 million in 2015. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-slashes-lobbying-outlay-255-percent-380-million-att-leads-tech-communications-gro

April 20, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog urged the Federal Trade Commission to file antitrust charges against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for using its monopoly power over the Android operating system to stifle competition and unfairly drive consumers to its own services. The call from the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group came after the European Commission filed formal charges in its Android antitrust case against the Internet giant.  The Commission said in its statement of objections that its preliminary view was “that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-federal-trade-commission-file-antitrust-charges-against-google-o. Read the European Commission’s news release here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1492_en.htm

April 4, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require a steering wheel, brake and accelerator so a human driver can take control of a self-driving robot car when necessary in the guidelines it is developing on automated vehicle technology. In comments for a NHTSA public meeting about automated vehicle technology, John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, also listed ten questions he said the agency must ask Google about its self-driving robot car program. Read Simpson’s comments here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/nhtsatestimony040816.pdf . Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-nhtsa-require-steering-wheel-driver-robot-car-guidelines.

Mar. 31, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog praised a vote by the Federal Communications Commission to start making rules that would protect the privacy of broadband customers. The FCC voted 3-to-2 to start a rulemaking that would spell out privacy regulations for broadband Internet access providers under Section 222 of the Communications Act.  When the FCC reclassified broadband providers as common carriers, like telephone companies, it got authority to set privacy rules for ISPs. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-fcc-action-protect-broadband-customers%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2-privacy

 Mar. 23, 2016 -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminsitration (NHTSA) says it will hold public meetings about self-driving robot car technologies after a coalition of consumer groups sent a letter to Transportation Secretary  Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind calling for public involvement as new polices are developed.  Read a blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/49137#disqus_thread

Mar. 22, 2016 -- The  unprecedented deal between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and 20 automakers to voluntarily make automatic emergency braking systems standard on their cars by 2022 actually undercuts auto safety. Consumer Watchdog, the Center for Auto Safety and Joan Claybrook, former NHTSA Administrator and now President Emeritus of Public Citizen have petitioned NHTSA to open a formal rulemaking to set automatic emergency braking standards. Read a blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/nhtsas-voluntary-automatic-emergency-braking-deal-undercuts-auto-safety

Mar. 9, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog demanded that Google release its own video of one of its self-driving robot cars crashing into a transit bus, after the bus company released its video of the incident. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group’s call came after the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority released video of the Valentine’s Day crash to the Associated Press. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-demands-google-release-its-video-crash-it-caused-bus . View the transit company’s video here: http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2016/03/09/81526496/

Mar. 3, 2016 -- In the wake of a Google self-driving car crashing into a bus, a coalition of consumer groups called on the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “to commit to maximum transparency and public involvement” as they develop policy and safety standards covering autonomous self-driving vehicles. Consumer Watchdog, Consumers Union, the Center for Auto Safety, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, and former NHTSA Administrator and Public Citizen President Emeritus Joan Claybrook sent the letter. Read it here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrdotnhtsa030316.pdf. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/after-google-car-crashes-bu…;

Feb. 29, 2016 – A Valentine’s Day crash in which a self-driving Google robot car sideswiped a bus demonstrates the need for a police investigation and the release of technical data and video associated with the crash, Consumer Watchdog said. Google’s account of the crash was posted on the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website tand the self-driving robot car appears to have been at fault. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-robot-car-sideswipes-bus-valentines-day-consumer-watchdog-reiterates-call-police-. Read the crash report here: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/3946fbb8-e04e-4d52-8f80-b33948df34b2/Google+Auto+LLC+02.14.16.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Feb. 2, 2016 -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is wrong to say the artificial intelligence guiding an autonomous robot car counts as the driver, Consumer Watchdog said. The group added that Google’s own test data demonstrates the need for a human driver who can take control of a “self-driving” when necessary. The test data was in a state-mandated “disengagement report” filed with the California DMV. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/nhtsa-wrong-say-computers-count-drivers-robot-cars-consumer-watchdog-says-google%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-own-d. Read NHTSA’s interpretation here: http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/Google%20--%20compiled%20response%20to%2012%20Nov%20%2015%20interp%20request%20--%204%20Feb%2016%20final.htm. Read Google’s disengagement report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/cadmvdisengagereport-dec.2015.pdf

Jan. 28, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog strongly endorsed the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ draft regulations for autonomous vehicles that require self-driving robot cars have a licensed driver behind the wheel capable of taking control, and a working steering wheel, gas pedal and brake. “The need to require a licensed driver behind the wheel is obvious after a review of the results from seven companies that have been testing since September 2014: Robot cars are still not capable of dealing reliably with real-life situations,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/bikes-pedestrians-other-cars-and-tree-branches-among-real-road-scenarios-robot-cars-can%E2%80%99

Jan. 21, 2016 – Google’s federal lobbying expenses in 2015 topped $16 million for the second year in a row, according to records just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog. Consumer Watchdog monitors the lobbying disclosure reports of 16 tech and communications companies. Facebook, Apple and Amazon each set corporate records for the amount they each spent. Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-2015-spending-lobbying-tops-16-million-second-year-leading-16-tech-and-communic

Jan. 20, 2016 -- Consumer Watchdog joined a coalition of 59 groups calling on the Federal Commission to begin a rulemaking to protect consumers’ privacy and become a “brawnier cop on the beat” focusing on broadband providers. “The FCC’s reclassification of broadband providers as common carriers means the agency can enact strong privacy-protecting regulations,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “It’s imperative the commission act as soon as possible. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-joins-call-fcc-enact-strong-broadband-privacy-rules

Jan. 12, 2016 -- Google’s just released report detailing when human drivers took control of a self-driving robot car being tested underscores the need – as required by California DMV draft regulations – for a driver behind a steering wheel of a self-driving car, Consumer Watchdog said. “How can Google propose a car with no steering wheel, brakes or driver when its own tests show that over 15 months the robot technology failed and handed control to the driver 272 times and a test driver felt compelled to intervene 69 times?” asked John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-own-robot-car-%E2%80%9Cdisengagement%E2%80%9D-report-shows-need-driver-behind-wheel-consumer-wa

Jan 6, 2016 – Consumers and regulators should not be fooled by the autonomous vehicle hype coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Consumer Watchdog said.  “Robot car advocates are putting a glitzy spin on their ‘autonomous’ technologies,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.  “The fact is that while some emerging technologies may promote safety, self-driving robot cars are not remotely ready for deployment on public highways without a steering wheel and pedals so a human driver can intervene when necessary.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/don%E2%80%99t-be-fooled-robot-car-hype-ces-gadget-show-consumer-watchdog-warns

Dec. 9, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog joins a coalition of 17 consumer and privacy groups in opposing the Data Security Act of 2015 because the measure would “weaken consumer protections in a number of ways, and eliminate protections altogether for some categories of personal information.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-joins-coalition-opposing-data-security-bill-would-weaken-consumer-prot

Dec. 3, 2015 -- Self-driving robot cars are not ready for public use and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) must not rush to implement regulations covering the vehicles as it updates its policy on automated vehicle technologies, Consumer Watchdog says In a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson also calls for formal rulemakings to set enforceable standards for automated technologies that enhance safety. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/don%E2%80%99t-rush-robot-car-rules-consumer-watchdog-tells-transportation-secretary-foxx Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrnhtsa120315.pdf

Dec. 1, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog says Airbnb’s release of anonymized data about people who use its site to rent their property “will give New York City the necessary information to craft needed regulations and to enforce them” while still protecting privacy. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/airbnb-policy-release-anonymized-data-about-its-users-strikes-correct-balance-between-pr

Nov. 24, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to put the safety of drivers and other vehicles first as it revises its two-year-old policy on automated vehicle technology and autonomous cars. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-nhtsa-protect-drivers-its-new-robot-car-policy

Nov. 20, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to rebuff pressure from Google and continue at a deliberate pace to ensure regulations covering robot cars protect public safety. Consumer Watchdog made call after an AP story says Google was frustrated by the DMV’s failure to implement regulations covering the public use of robot cars. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-california-dmv-ignore-google%E2%80%99s-pressure-continue-deliberate-pace

Nov. 6, 2015 -- In the wake of the Federation Communication Commission’s denial of its petition seeking online privacy protections at online companies like Google and Facebook, Consumer Watchdog today vowed to press state regulators, Congress and the courts to better protect Internet users’ privacy. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-vows-press-case-online-privacy-google-and-facebook-after-fcc-rejects-p

Oct. 20, 2015 -- Google trimsa its 2015 third-quarter federal lobbying spending 7 percent to $3.65 million from $3.94 million in the comparable 2014 period, but still leads lobbying expenditures among 16 technology and communications companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog. Read new release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-trims-3rd-quarter-lobbying-365-million-still-leads-16-tech-firms-oracle-amazon-ou

Oct. 9, 2015 -- Californians win a major privacy victory that catches protections up with modern technology.  Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 178, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), into law. It requires that law enforcement get a warrant before poking around in our digital records. Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/big-privacy-victory-gov-brown-signs-calecpa

Oct. 8, 2015 -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles says it will now post all autonomous vehicle accident reports on its website.  The move comes after Consumer Watchdog recently suggested to the DMV that it make the required reports easily available online. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/california-dmv-will-post-autonomous-vehicle-accident-reports-its-website-move-comes-afte

Oct. 7, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog issues open letter opposing San Francisco’s Ballot Measure F because of serious privacy concerns.  Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/open-letter-san-francisco-consumer-watchdog-opposes-proposition-f-privacy-grounds

Sept. 23, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog formally petitions the California Department of Motor Vehicles to amend its driverless car testing regulations to require that police investigate any accidents involving robot cars and that copies of videos and technical data be made available. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-petitions-california-dmv-amend-driverless-car-testing-rules-require-po

August 19, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog tells DMV police must investigate robot car crashes. Crash data and video should be provided to department for release to public. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-dmv-police-must-investigate-robot-car-crashes

August 18, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog asks NASA to end special drone testing deal with Google giving internet giant unfair advantage over competitors at taxpayer expense. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-nasa-end-special-drone-testing-deal-google-giving-internet-giant-

August 10, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog calls on Justice Department to block Expedia-Orbitz merger. The proposed $1.3 billion merger would remove vital competition that ensures fair prices for consumers. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-justice-department-block-expedia-orbitz-merger

August 10, 2015 – Google’s new corporate structure changes nothing about company’s impact on consumers’ privacy. “This structure allows Page and co-founder Sergey Brin to keep investors happy and continue to have their toys like Google Glass and robot cars,” said Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson. “We don’t know where in the new corporate structure the robot car project will end up, but you can be sure Alphabet will push the vehicles at us before the cars are ready.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-new-corporate-structure-changes-nothing-about-company%E2%80%99s-impact-consumers%E2%80%99-priva

July 31, 2015 – Association of National Advertises misses the point of “right to be forgotten”, and consumer privacy protections are not censorship, says Consumer Watchdog.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/ad-association-misses-point-right-be-forgotten-says-consumer-watchdog-public-interest-gr

July 27, 2015 – U.S. public interest group warns European Commission about Apple’s dominance of streaming music; calls for limiting Apple tactics to drive out ‘freemium’ music. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/us-public-interest-group-warns-european-commission-about-apple%E2%80%99s-dominance-streaming-mus

July 21, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog warns federal regulators about Apple’s dominance of streaming music; calls for limiting Apple tactics to drive out ‘freemium’ music. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-federal-regulators-about-apple%E2%80%99s-dominance-streaming-music-calls

July 20, 2015 – Google trims 2nd quarter spending, but still leads tech firms’ lobbying expenditures; Facebook posts record $2,69 million, while Amazon outlay soars 103 percent. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-trims-2nd-quarter-spending-still-leads-tech-firms%E2%80%99-lobbying-expenditures-facebook

July 15, 2015 – Christos Catsouras, the father of a California woman whose family name remains linked in Internet search results to graphic leaked police photos of her fatal car crash, joins Consumer Watchdog in calling for the “Right To Be Forgotten” to be honored in the United States. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/father-woman-whose-graphic-crash-photos-remain-linked-internet-search-results-joins-cons View KCAL TV-9 news report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kcal-la-9-father-car-crash-victim-joins-consumer-watchdogs-call-offer-right-be-forgotten-usView KTTV FOX 11 news report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kttv-la-fox-11-parents-team-consumer-watchdog-establish-right-be-forgotten-rule View KABC TV 7 coverage here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kabc-la-07-families-struggle-and-consumer-watchdogs-call-bring-right-be-forgotten-us-0

July 8, 2015 - Consumer Watchdog strongly supports the Consumer Privacy Protection Act introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-RI, and co-sponsored by eleven other Democrats. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-consumer-privacy-protection-act-introduced-rep-cicilline

July 7, 2015 - Google’s failure to offer U.S. users the ability to request the removal of search engine links from their name to information that is inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive is an “unfair and deceptive” practice, Consumer Watchdog said in a complaint today to the Federal Trade Commission. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-failure-offer-%E2%80%98right-be-forgotten%E2%80%99-united-states-unfair-and-deceptive-consumer-

June 22, 2015 - A U.S. Supreme Court decision today striking down a Los Angeles Ordinance allowing police to check guest registries at motels and hotels at any time as unconstitutional supports Consumer Watchdog's position that a warrant must be required before data from home sharing networks like Airbnb is turned over to authorities. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/santa-monica-san-francisco-plans-demand-private-information-home-sharing-sites-unconstit

June 18, 2015 - The California Department of Motor Vehicles has reversed its policy and today said it would release accident reports about crashes involving self-driving cars that are being tested on public roads. “It took too long, but the DMV is now getting right,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Director. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/california-dmv-changes-policy-now-will-release-robot-car-accident-reports

June 15, 2015 - Consumer Watchdog today petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to enact rules that would require Internet companies known as “edge providers”, such as Google and Facebook, to honor Do Not Track requests sent from a consumer’s web browser. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/fccdntpetition

June 9, 2015 - Consumer Watchdog today said it opposes a proposed San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ ordinance that requires home sharing platforms like Airbnb to turn over massive amounts of personal information to the city, because it would violate consumers’ privacy and is little more than a “blank search warrant” for law enforcement authorities. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-opposes-san-francisco-home-sharing-law-violates-privacy

June 5, 2015 - After repeated calls for disclosure from Consumer Watchdog, Google today said it would issue regular reports offering some details of crashes involving its driverless cars.  The public interest group said more details are still needed. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-reveals-some-robot-car-crash-details-after-repeated-calls-consumer-watchdog-publi

June 3, 2015 - Google founder Sergey Brin said he would be “open to” releasing accident reports about crashes involving its robot cars in response to a Consumer Watchdog challenge for transparency about the crashes today. However, Google executives rejected Consumer Watchdog’s call to protect privacy of driverless car users by limiting the use of data gathered by the cars to only operating the vehicles. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-may-release-robot-car-crash-reports-refuses-consumer-watchdog-challenge-protect-p

May 11, 2015 - Consumer Watchdog today called on Google to release the reports of accidents involving its driverless cars that have been filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and to commit to making public all future driverless car accident reports. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-google-release-driverless-car-accident-reports-0

April 30, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog backs Consumer Privacy Protection Act introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). 47 states already have breach notification laws, and it is essential that federal legislation not undermine those protections. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-consumer-privacy-protection-act-introduced-sen-leahy

April 24, 2015 – Comcast calls off $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable in face of strong opposition from FCC and Justice Department. Consumer Watchdog welcomes the demise of the Comcast -Time Warner Cable deal as a victory for consumers and calls on the FCC and Justice Department to block the pending merger of AT&T and DIRECTV. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-fcc-and-justice-department-block-att-directv-merger-after-comcas

April 21, 2015 -- Google spends a record $5.47 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 43 percent from $3.82 million in the comparable 2014 period, according to disclosures just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Comcast, which is seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department for a merger with Time Warner Cable spends $4.62 million in the quarter, an increase of 50 percent from $3.09 million in the first quarter of 2014.  The two giants were the biggest lobbying spenders among 16 tech and communications companies monitored by Consumer Watchdog. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-spends-record-547-million-1st-quarter-lobbying-comcast-outlay-soars-50-percent-46

April 20, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog opposes a California Senate bill, SB 593, that requires home sharing platforms like Airbnb to turn over users’ personal information to local governments, because it would violate consumers’ privacy and is little more than a “blank search warrant” for law enforcement authorities.  The bill’s author is Seb. Mike McGuire.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrsb593-042015.pdf Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/sen-mcguire%E2%80%99s-sb-593-would-provide-%E2%80%98blank-search-warrant%E2%80%99-cities-invading-privacy-consum

April 15, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes news reports that Europe’s competition authorities plan to file formal antitrust charges against Google on Wednesday and adds that the action should benefit Americans after the Federal Trade Commission’s failure to take decisive action against the Internet giant. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-europe%E2%80%99s-planned-antitrust-charges-against-google

April 14, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to file formal charges against Google in the European Commission’s ongoing antitrust investigation of the Internet giant. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Vestager here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-europe-file-antitrust-charges-against-google

April 7, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog has joined a coalition of prominent children’s and consumer advocacy groups that filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission today requesting an investigation of Google, charging the company with unfair and deceptive practices in connection with its new YouTube Kids app. The complaint details a number of the app’s features that take advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities and violate long-standing media and advertising safeguards that protect children viewing television.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/child-and-consumer-advocates-urge-ftc-investigate-and-bring-action-against-google-excess

March 30, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes plans by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to examine the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation of Google that was closed in 2013 without a lawsuit. Read news release here:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-welcomes-senate-probe-ftc%E2%80%99s-google-antitrust-investigation

March 20, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the Federal Trade Commission to re-open its antitrust investigation of Google and urged the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to hold a hearing probing how the Internet giant escaped prosecution for its anticompetitive practices. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-ftc-...

March 19, 2015 – Consumer Watchdog warns the California Department of Motor Vehicles that it must not allow Google and others with a vested interest in developing driverless vehicles to push the DMV into issuing rules regulating the public use of robot cars on highways that are inadequate to protect public safety. “Most importantly, a driverless vehicle must allow a licensed driver to assume control when necessary,” Consumer Watchdog says. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the DMV here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrdmvshiomoto031915.pdf Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-cites-shortcomings-driverless-car-technology-says-dmv-rules-robot-cars

March 5, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog backs the Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act, saying the legislation would require accountability and transparency for data brokers who collect and sell personal and sensitive information about consumers. The bill, S. 668, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Edward J. Markey, (D-Ma.) Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) Read a copy of the bill here: http://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2015-03-04-Data-Brokers-Bill-Text-Markey%20.pdf Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-senate-data-broker-accountability-and-transparency-act

March 3, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog joins 13 other public interest groups in a letter to President Obama outlining the shortcomings of the draft Consumer Privacy Bill Of Rights Act and pledging to work with the Administration and Congress to strengthen the bill.  Read the groups’ letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrobamagroups030315.pdf

Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/14-consumer-groups-outline-shortcomings-white-house-privacy-legislation-letter-president

Feb. 27, 2015 – The proposed Privacy Bill of Rights Act released by the White House today fails to adequately protect consumer privacy and allows industry to dominate making the rules that would govern corporate behavior, Consumer Watchdog says.  Read the draft Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/cpbr-act-of-2015-discussion-draft.pdf Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/white-house-privacy-bill-fails-give-adequate-protection-consumer-watchdog-says

Feb 25, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject AT&T’s proposed purchase of the satellite television company DIRECTV unless the company agrees to eliminate DIRECTV’s anti-consumer policy of charging massive Early Termination Fees, often taken directly from a customer’s bank account or credit card without notice. Download Consumer Watchdog’s letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltratt-dtvmerger022515.pdf Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/fcc-should-prohibit-directvs-anti-consumer-practices-freezing-rates-and-banning-excessiv

Feb. 25, 2015 -- The Federal Communication Commission should protect consumer privacy and regulate connections between the Internet and so-called “edge providers,” like Google, when the agency begins regulating broadband service like a public utility, Consumer Watchdog says. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-fcc-not-back-down-regulating-google-and-other-%E2%80%9Cedge-provider%E2%80%9D-co

Feb. 13, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on President Obama to back mandatory encryption of sensitive data like health records to prevent damaging data breaches like the Anthem Inc. hack that compromised the records of 80 million people. The nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group made its call as Obama was speaking at The White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection being held at Stanford University. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-president-seek-mandatory-encryption-sensitive-data

Feb. 6, 2015 -- A Google-commissioned report advising that the Internet giant implement the right to be forgotten only in Europe is little more than a self-serving publicity stunt, Consumer Watchdog says, adding that the important privacy protection should be implemented in the United States. Read the Google Advisory Council right to be forgotten report here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1UgZshetMd4cEI3SjlvV0hNbDA/view?pli=1  Read Consumer  Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-right-be-forgotten-report-self-serving-publicity-stunt-consumer-watchdog-says-gro

Feb. 5, 2015 -- Answering Consumer Watchdog’s call, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is invoking key sections of the Communications Act, including Section 222, which will provide the basis for vital consumer and privacy protections in his plan to reclassify broadband service and regulate the providers like public utilities. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/fcc-chairman-wheeler-follows-consumer-watchdog%E2%80%99s-call-includes-key-consumer-and-privacy-

Jan. 26, 2015 – Verizon’s use of “Supercookies” underscores the need for the Federal Communications Commission to maintain privacy and consumer protections as it reclassifies broadband companies such as Verizon as common carriers in order to protect ‘net neutrality,’ Consumer Watchdog says. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/verizon%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Csupercookies%E2%80%9D-demonstrate-need-fcc-ensure-privacy-protections-are-maintained-

Jan. 26, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog today called on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that vital privacy and consumer protections are in place when it issues new ‘net neutrality rules, probably next month. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-fcc-ensure-consumer-and-privacy-protections-are-maintained-when-

Jan. 20, 2015 -- Google spends a record $16.83 million on lobbying in its efforts to influence federal regulators and lawmakers in 2014, just ahead of Comcast’s reported $16.80 million, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House and analyzed today by Consumer Watchdog. Facebook, Apple and Amazon also set corporate records for the amount they each spent. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-spends-record-1683-million-2014-lobbying-topping-15-tech-and-communications-compa

Jan. 15, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes Google’s announcement that it would stop selling Google Glass, its privacy invasive wearable computing device and said the Internet giant should not offer a new version until privacy issues are solved. “Google Glass may have appealed to a bunch of socially clueless ‘Glassholes’ who were oblivious to our privacy rights, but the device fulfilled no real consumer need,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-welcomes-death-google-glass-says-internet-giant-should-not-offer-%E2%80%9Cglas

Jan. 12, 2015 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes President Obama’s attention on consumer privacy and data breach issues, but cautions that legislation the President proposes must not provide weaker protection than is already offered by some state laws. Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-obama-not-undercut-strong-state-data-and-privacy-laws

Dec. 16, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog urges consumers to opt out of the new electronic health information exchange, Cal INDEX, that is being set up by Blue Cross and Blue Shield until key questions about patient privacy are answered. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group adds that the best way to protect privacy when sharing patient information is an opt-in approach. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/privacy-alert-consumer-watchdog-urges-public-opt-out-cal-index-electronic-health-informa

Dec. 9, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog joins the Center for Digital Democracy and eight other organizations in asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and take enforcement action against the Topps Company for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The complaint, which was prepared for the 10 groups by Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation, centers around Candymania.com and a social media campaign to promote Ring Pops, a candy targeted at kids.  Read News release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/consumer-watchdog-joins-call-ftc-probe-topps-coppa-violation

Nov. 27, 2014 – European Parliament passes resolution calling for breakup of Google.  Consumer Watchdog supported the vote, which was on an advisory resolution. Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-european-parliament-approve-call-break-google

Nov. 26, 2014 – Europe’s privacy protection officials, the Article 29 Working Party, says that the “Right To Be Forgotten” should apply to all domains including Google.com, not just to domains in the European Union like Google.fr, Google.de, Google.co.uk, etc. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/european-action-focuses-debate-right-be-forgotten

Nov. 17, 2014 – Federal Trade Commissions says TRUSTe, a privacy certification company was deceptive. Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/ftc-says-privacy-certification-company-was-deceptive

Nov. 13, 2014 -- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers release Consumer Privacy Protection Principles for data gather by modern cars.  Consumer Watchdog says the principles do little to protect consumers’ sensitive data that is increasingly collected by modern cars and trucks.  Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/automakers%E2%80%99-privacy-principles-offer-little-real-protection-consumer-watchdog-says

Nov. 11, 2014 – Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson appears on CNBC arguing in favor of Net Neutrality. View video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/cnbc-tv-john-simpson-discusses-net-neutrality

Nov. 10, 2014 – Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures, wins contract to manage Moffett Federal Airfield.  Consumer Watchdog says award of contract wrongly rewards the Internet giant’s executives for longstanding abuses at Ames Research Center.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/moffett-field-lease-deal-wrongly-rewards-google-execs%E2%80%99-longstanding-abuse

Oct. 29, 2014 -- Google spends $3.94 million lobbying the federal government in the third quarter, off from its record $5.30 million in the previous quarter, but up 17 percent from $3.37 million in the comparable period in 2013, according to records just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog. Of 15 tech and communications companies’ lobbying spending monitored by Consumer Watchdog only Comcast, which is seeking approval for a $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable spent more than the Internet giant, reporting lobbying costs for the third quarter of $4.23 million.  Nine of the 15 companies monitored trimmed their expenditures compared to the third quarter of 2013. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-spends-394-million-3rd-quarter-lobbying-comcast-spends-423-million-facebook-lists

Oct. 11, 2014 -- Google, which is now forced to honor the “Right To Be Forgotten” in Europe as the result of a high court decision, should voluntarily offer the same privacy protection to users in the United States after Google’s own analysis shows the right is being successfully implemented, Consumer Watchdog says. Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-google-extend-%E2%80%98right-be-forgotten%E2%80%99-us-says-google%E2%80%99s-own-report-s

Oct. 10, 2014 -- Americans support “Right To Be Forgotten,” according to survey by IT security evaluations company, Software Advice. Sixty-one percent of respondents support some version of the RTBF, while 39 percent favored European-style blanket right to be forgotten, without restrictions.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/americans-support-%E2%80%9Cright-be-forgotten%E2%80%9D-software-advices-survey-finds

Oct. 2, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog challenges the idea that widespread use of fully autonomous or driverless cars is imminent, and urged the state Insurance Commissioner to focus on immediate consumer concerns of auto safety and privacy. Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/california-long-way-driverless-cars-consumer-watchdog-tells-insurance-commissioner

Sept. 29, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog endorses a new website, “Focus on the User” and a downloadable “widget” available on the site that demonstrates how Google favors its own services in local search results. Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-endorses-%E2%80%9Cfocus-user%E2%80%9D-project

Sept. 10, 2014 – Google issues statement backing Net Neutrality, saying there should be no ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others.  Consumer Watchdog says “Google got it exactly right this time.” Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-got-it-exactly-right-time

Sept. 6, 2014 – EU Competition Commission Joaquin Almunia says that Google’s proposed antitrust settlement is inadequate and added he would seek further concessions from the Internet giant. A deal is unlikely before he steps down Oct. 31 Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/eu-rejects-3rd-google-antitrust-deal-it%E2%80%99s-time-formal-complaint

Aug. 29, 2014 – Google bans Disconnect Mobile, a privacy app, from its Google Play apps store.  “Google has way too much power over distribution of applications on Android and can kill applications at will without justification, says Disconnect’s co-founder Casey Oppenheim.  “This is why efforts to create alternative Android based platforms that respect user privacy … are so important for the future of the increasingly Android-based Internet.”  Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-bans-privacy-app-google-play

Aug. 29, 2014 -- An $8.5 million settlement in a class action privacy lawsuit against Google “doesn’t pass the smell test” Federal Judge Edward Davila says at a fairness hearing on the proposed deal in San Jose, CA, indicating he will likely reject it.  “The elephant in the room is that many of them are law schools that you attended,” Davila said, according to Bloomberg News.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-settlement-%E2%80%9Cdoesn%E2%80%99t-pass-smell-test

Aug. 27, 2014 – Consumer Watchdog and four other consumer privacy groups emphasize their continuing opposition to a proposed $8.5 million settlement in a class action suit against Google for privacy violations in the way it handled users’ search data because the proposed deal provides no benefit to class members. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-privacy-groups-stress-opposition-settlement-google-privacy-suit

Aug. 25, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog files formal comments calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable because the deal “is not at all in the public interest.” Read news release here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-fcc-reject-45-billion-comcast-%E2%80%93-time-warner-deal

Aug. 8, 2014 – Judge Lucy Koh rejects proposed settlement in the $3 billion class action lawsuit on behalf of 64,000 high tech workers who charged that Silicon Valley tech titans like Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin illegally conspired to keep their wages down. Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson says executives should lose their jobs. Read news story here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/story/judge-rejects-3245m-wage-fixing-deal-struck-apple-google-others-too-low

Aug. 5. 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog joins with six other consumer privacy organizations in calling for President Obama to propose strong privacy legislation in the groups’ comments on the White House report on “big data.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-privacy-groups-urge-obama-propose-strong-privacy-law

July 24, 2014 – State Attorneys General are investigating Google to determine if it adequately screens illegal drug advertisements and illicit online videos, reports Bloomberg News.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-targeted-again-illicit-drug-ads

July 21, 20`4 -- Google spends $5.03 million on lobbying in the second quarter of 2014, matching a company record and well ahead of spending by 14 other technology and communications companies.  Facebook, which has substantially increased its Washington presence over the last two years, doubles down on its efforts to buy influence in Washington spending $2.12 million.  Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-spends-5-million-lobbying-2nd-quarter-leading-15-tech-communications-firms

June 30, 2014 -- A 2012 secret experiment in which Facebook manipulated users’ news feed to see whether certain kinds of content made users happy or sad, violated basic research ethics, Consumer Watchdog says. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/facebook-secret-research-use... View KABC TV-7 news coverage here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kabc-tv-7-los-angeles-facebook-research-conducted-without-permission

June 26, 2014 -- Google begins removing some search results in Europe under the recently court-upheld “right to be forgotten.”  Consumer Watchdog says Americans deserve the same right.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-must-allow-us-users-be-forgotten

June 19, 2014 -- People aren’t buying the bafflegab being spouted by mega moguls claiming that the $45.2 billion merger of cable TV giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable would benefit consumers.  A whopping 56 percent of American oppose the deal, while only 11 percent say they support it, according to a poll released Thursday by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/we%E2%80%99re-not-buying-comcasttime-warner-claims.

June 18, 2014 -- Google will start to remove links to online content in Europe by the end of June, New York Times reports, to comply with a recent landmark European court ruling intended to protect individuals’ privacy, according to sources with direct knowledge of the issue. Google has already received more than 50,000 submissions from people asking the company to remove links. That includes more than 12,000 requests within the first 24 hours of the form’s being made available, Times says.  Read article here: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/google-ready-to-comply-with-right-to-be-forgotten-rules-in-europe/

June 17, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog joins the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and 25 other organizations in telling President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder not to seek re-authorization of the National Security Agency's bulk telephone record collection. Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/consumer-watchdog-joins-telling-oba...Read the coalition’s letter here: https://epic.org/privacy/Coalition-Ltr-to-End-NSA-Bulk-Collection.pdf

June 16, 2014 – LeVar Burton, who played a blind Geodori La Forge, who wore  “VISOR” on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” tells the Washington Post that Google Glass freaks him out.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-glass-draws-even-more-criticism

June 16, 2014 – Consumer Watchdog says Google/Skybox deal will take the Internet giant's ability to spy on us and gather information about our activities to new heights -- literally. Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-latest-deal-takes-spying-ability-new-heights

June 11, 2014 – Prestigious American Antitrust Institute joins in opposing $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner deal. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/american-antitrust-institute-also-opposes-comcast-time-warner-deal

June 10, 2014 -- Google announces that it will to buy Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. The company is building low cost satellites to orbit 185 miles above the earth's surface that will provide high-resolution satellite images.

June 10, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog warns the California Department of Motor Vehicles not to succumb to pressure from Google and others with a vested interest in developing “driverless cars” to rush to adopt regulations for the public use of the vehicles that are inadequate to protect our safety. “We urge the DMV to follow a sensible and deliberate approach that would require adequate testing and time to analyze the test results,” wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, in a letter to DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-warns-dmv-... Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrdmvdriverless061014.pdf

May 30, 2014 -- Google has implements a search removal request mechanism for people living in Europe who believe it has indexed information about them that they have a right to remove because of the right to be forgotten. Read TechCrunch news story here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/30/right-to-be-forgotten-webform/

May 14, 2014 – Google holds annual shareholders’ meeting and announces it will release EEO employment data. Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson attends, asks Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt two questions: 1) To explain how his membership on the New York Smarts Schools Commission is not a conflict of interest. 2) What the impact of the European Court of Justice’s decision upholding the “right to be forgotten” will be on Google.  View a video of the exchange between Simpson and Schmidt here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0q7ZvV796E.

May 13, 2014 -- The highest European court rules that people have a “right to be forgotten.” The Court of Justice of the European Union says that a person could ask Google to remove data that could “appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the light of the time that had elapsed.”  Consumer Watchdog calls decision “a substantial victory for the right to privacy.” See Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-eu%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cright-be-forgotten%E2%80%9D-ruling-privacy-victory.

May 12, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog files a formal complaint asking the New York Joint Commission On Public Ethics to remove Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt from the state’s Smart Schools Commission because of conflicts of interest that violate the state’s Public Officials Law. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-ny-jo.... Read formal complaint here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/joint_commission_complaint.pdf.

May 8, 2014 – Federal Trade Commission settles privacy case with Snapchat, which claimed “snaps” would quickly disappear.  In fact there were several easy ways that the messages could be saved.   Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/ftc-settles-privacy-case-snapchat.

May 1, 2014 – White House releases Big Data study identifying potential dangers of discrimination and threats to privacy in what the report called “a world where data collection will be increasingly ubiquitous, multidimensional, and permanent.” Consumer Watchdog today backed six broad policy recommendations outlined in the report.  Read press release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-6-policy-recommendations-white-house-big-data-report

April 30, 2014 -- Google says it will stop reading the Gmail accounts of 30 million students who use Google Apps For Education. Consumer Watchdog points out the Internet giant spins the announcement as “protecting students,” when in fact the change came only after questions were raised about the legality of the practice. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-stops-reading-students%E2%80%99-gmail-after-legal-questions-are-raised.

April 24, 2014 -- A settlement is reached in the $3 billion class action lawsuit on behalf of 64,000 high tech workers who charged that Silicon Valley tech titans like Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin illegally conspired to keep their wages down. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/tech-titans-dirty-linen-wont-be-aired-further.

April 21, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog expresses deep concern about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointment of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to the New York Smart Schools Commission to advise the state on how to invest proceeds from the proposed $2 billion bond act and bring technology into classrooms statewide.  President Jamie Court and Privacy Project Director, wrote that Cuomo should: (1) Preclude Google from providing any of the new technology to the state’s schools given the conflict of interest created by Schmidt’s appointment. (2) Remove Schmidt from the Commission immediately given Google’s disregard for students’ privacy and the potential for self-dealing. Reade Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-gov-.... Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-gov-cuomo-remove-google-chairman-eric-schmidt-ny-smart-schools-p.

April 16, 2014 -- The CEO of Europe's largest newspaper publishing company, Mathias Döpfner, charges that Google is seeking to build a “digital super-state” free from the constraints of antitrust regulators and privacy concerns. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/leading-german-publisher-says-google-building-digital-superstate.

 

April 14, 2014 – New Google Terms of Service (TOS) take effect, making it clear that the Internet giant reads your content.  In the TOS Google claims the right to do whatever it wants with your stuff, even if you quit the service, Consumer Watchdog says. “There can be no doubt: Google snoops on everything you send them, as it makes its way through the Internet giant's computer systems and when it is stored in Google’s cloud, so Google can build digital dossiers about you.” Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-terms-service-we-can-do-whatever-we-want.

 

April 9, 2014 – Google apparently trying trademark the “Glass,” the Internet giant’s wearable computing device, according to the Wall Street Journal. Consumer Watchdog makes a “modest proposal.”  “Google should trademark the word ‘Spy.’  It would apply not only to the geeky wearable device sported by Glassholes, but to virtually every product and service the Internet giant offers.” Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-should-apply-trademark-spy.

 

April 1, 2014 Consumer Watchdog tells the White House Team studying the Obama Administration’s policy towards “Big Data” that “people must be able to know what information is gathered about them, how long it is kept and for what the information will be used.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-white-house-team-people-have-right-control-data.

Read Consumer Watchdog letter to White House here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/whitehousebigdata033114.pdf

 

March 27, 2014 – U.S. Department of Justice responds to Consumer Watchdog’s letter asking DOJ to block $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.  Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/doj-quickly-answers-our-call-block-.... Read DOJ letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/simpsonltr032714.pdf

 

March 26, 2014 -- A proposed settlement in Europe’s antitrust investigation of Google that establishes a monitor for five years to ensure that the Internet giant keeps its promises under the deal, does not actually obligate Google to do anything in response to a request from the “Monitoring Trustee,” Consumer Watchdog says and calls for the “deeply flawed” proposed settlement to be modified. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/proposed-european-antitrust-settlement-allows-google-ignore-requests-monitor-consumer-wa.

Read letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrbarroso032614.pdf

 

March 11, 2014 -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles must enact regulations that protect users privacy in new regulations it is drafting that would cover Google’s driverless cars and other “autonomous vehicles” traveling on California’s highways, Consumer Watchdog tells the DMV.  Read Consumer Watchdog news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-tells-ca-dmv-new-driverless-car-regulations-must-protect-privacy.

 Read John Simpson’s written testimony here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/dmvtestimony031114.pdf

 

March 6, 2014 -- European Commission responds to Consumer Watchdog's concerns about Google antitrust deal. Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/european-commission-responds-consumer-watchdogs-concerns-about-google-deal. Read a letter from Alexander Italanier, Director-General for Competition here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/watchdog_reply_ares_2014-590726.pdf

 

Feb. 27, 2014 -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris acts to improve cybersecurtity in the state before new laws are passed. She released recommendations to California businesses to help protect against and respond to the increasing threat of malware, data breaches and other cyber risks. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/california-ag-takes-lead-cybersecurity

 

Feb. 25, 2014 -- Google's efforts to seal key documents in a class action suit in which the Internet giant is charged with violating wiretap laws when it reads the contents of email messages on its Gmail service demonstrate hypocrisy at the company's core, Consumer Watchdog says.   Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/court-filings-gmail-case-demonstrate-googles-hypocrisy

 

Feb. 14, 2014 – Google publishes the details of the latest commitments Google made in a bid to settle a long-running antitrust case involving its treatment of rival specialist search services.  Read news story here: http://www.itworld.com/internet/405117/google-publishes-commitments-it-made-settle-eu-antitrust-case

 

Feb. 14, 2014 – Google tells “Explorers” -- users of Google Glass, the Internet giant’s wearable computing device – that they shouldn’t  “Be creepy or rude (aka, a ‘Glasshole’)”.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/now-even-google-says-dont-be-glasshole

 

Feb 13, 2014 – Comcast and Time Warner Cable announce $45 billion merger deal. Consumer Watchdog calls on the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to block the deal because it is anti-competitive and not in the public interest. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-fcc-d.... View KCBS TV-2 video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kcbs-tv-2-los-angeles-will-comcast.... View KNBC TV 4 video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/knbc-tv-4-los-angeles-comcast-taki.... View KTTV Fox video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kttv-fox-los-angles-will-google-time-warner-merger-mean-bad-business-consumers

 

Feb. 13, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog urges Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to press forward with an antitrust case against Google for unfairly manipulating search results favoring its own services damaging both competitors and consumers. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-texas-ag-press-antitrust-case-against-google

 

Feb. 10, 2014 General Services Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announce that Google will get control of Moffett Field even though a NASA audit found that the jet fleet owned through a company called H211 by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin received an unwarranted discount worth up to $5.3 million on jet fuel purchased from the government.  Awarding the contract wrongly rewards the Internet giant’s executives for longstanding abuses at Ames Research Center, Consumer Watchdog says. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/giving-google-control-moffett-field-wrongly-rewards-execs%E2%80%99-longstanding-abuse

 

Feb. 10, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog objects to the European Union’s College of Commissioners over the antitrust settlement deal with Google that was announced Feb. 5 by the Commissioner for Competition, Vice President Joaquin Almunia. Read the letter letters addressed to the Commission’s Secretary-General and 27 of the 28 commissioners here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-objects-eu... Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-objects-eu-commissioners-about-proposed-google-settlement

 

Feb. 5, 2014 -- Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia outlines third proposed settlement with Google to settle antitrust investigation, but keeps actual proposal confidential. Consumer Watchdog calls the outlined settlement “unacceptable” and says Google’s third Commitment document must be made public. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/eu-settlement-google-unacceptable-consumer-watchdog-says

 

Jan. 30, 2014 -- Consumer Watchdog insists the European Commission must ‘market test’ a reported new proposal from Google to settle the three-year antitrust investigation of the Internet giant and said any remedy must insist that Google use an objective, nondiscriminatory mechanism to rank and display all search results – including links to Google products. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-insists-eu-%E2%80%98market-test%E2%80%99-newest-google-antitrust-settlement-offer

 

Jan. 28, 2014 – Court documents show Eric Schmidt told an executive to keep discussions of agreement not to hire workers from other tech firms verbal “since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later.”  Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/compare-what-schmidt-says-what-he-does

Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-social-networkrelies-unfair-practice-consumer-watchdog-tells-ftc-public-intere

 

Jan. 22, 2014 -- Google’s social network, Google+, relies on a flagrant and fundamental privacy design flaw that is an unfair business practice, Consumer Watchdog says in a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group says that the Internet giant’s plan to link Google+ accounts to Gmail, so that a user can send an email to a Gmail account, without knowing the address would violate the “Buzz” Consent Agreement that settled privacy invasions when Google launched its first attempt at a social network. Read letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrftcgoogle012114.pdf

 

Jan. 21, 2014 -- Google leads in lobbying spending by ten tech firms who pumped a combined $61.15 million into efforts to influence federal regulators and lawmakers in 2013, up 15.9 percent from a combined total of $52.78 million, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House this week. “Policymaking in Washington is all about how much money you can throw around,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “These tech guys are increasingly willing to spend whatever it takes to buy what they want.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-leads-pack-10-tech-firms-pump-6115-million-2013-lobbying-efforts

 

Jan. 9, 2014 -- Google cleans up its social network shutting down some accounts of apparent online predators and eliminating explicit sexual content in apparent response to a complaint from Consumer Watchdog.  Group says the Internet giant’s Google+ still has a privacy design flaw that must be fixed. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-shuts-online-predators%E2%80%99-accounts-response-consumer-watchdog-letter-key-privacy-de

 

Dec. 22, 2013 – J.P. Morgan Chase imposes limits on debit cards that were used at Target during security breach from Nov. 26- Dec. 15. Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court calls Chase the “Grinch that stole Christmas from families across America,” adding that the realty is that Chase is acting to protect itself “while holding people’s money hostage.” View ABC World News’ report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/abc-world-news-after-target-breach-chase-bank-limits-customers-transactions

 

Dec. 20, 2013 -- Google’s latest proposal to settle an antitrust investigation in Europe does not go far enough, says the European Union’s Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Read The New York Times report here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/technology/europe-official-is-dissatisfied-with-google-proposal.html

 

Dec. 19, 2013 – Consumer Watchdog offers advice for consumers involved in massive data breach at Target involving 40 million credit card numbers.  Consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges, but they should check their accounts immediately and report any suspicious charges.  View KCBS/KCAL TV news report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kcal-tv-9-los-angeles-ca-40-million-credit-card-numbers-stolen-target-what-you-should-do

 

Dec. 18, 2013 -- Google has allowed its social network to become a virtual playground for online predators and explicit sexual content, a seven-month study by a tech industry whistleblower has finds, and Consumer Watchdog calls on the Internet giant “to take immediate action to police and clean up your social network, Google+.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-social-network-playground-online-predators-explicit-sexual-content-tech-whistle

 

Dec. 12, 2013 -- The Canadian Commissioner of Competition believes Google has abused its dominant search position and in an ongoing investigation files a document with the Federal Court of Canada demanding more information on the company’s practices.  Read IDG News Service report here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2080680/canadas-competition-agency-takes-google-to-court-in-antitrust-investigation.html

 

Dec. 11, 2013 – NASA Inspector General finds that a fleet of planes owned by Google’s billionaire top executives based at Ames Research Center’s Moffett Field received an unwarranted discount worth up to $5.3 million on jet fuel purchased from the government. “While this arrangement did not cause an economic loss to NASA or DLA-Energy, it did result in considerable savings for H211 and engendered a sense of unfairness and a perception of favoritism toward H211 and its owners. Accordingly, we recommend that NASA explore with the company possible options to remedy this situation,” wrote NASA IG Paul Martin.  Almost three years ago Consumer Watchdog described the deal that allowed H211, a company owned by top Google executives, to base a fleet of aircraft, including a Boeing 767, a Boeing 757 and four Gulfstream V's, at Moffett Field.  With the release of the IG’s report, Consumer Watchdog calls for the eviction of the planes from Moffett.  Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-nasa-evict-google-executives%E2%80%99-planes-after-inspector-general-fin

 

Dec. 4, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog files a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the deceptive and unfair way Google displays results from its comparison shopping engine, Google Shopping, in its search results. “The way that the Internet giant is featuring results from Google Shopping without making it clear that the highlighted results are nothing more than advertisements for merchants who bid for placement is an unfair and deceptive act, violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,” writes John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, in a letter to the Commission. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-complains-ftc-about-deception-google-shopping-results

 

Nov. 26, 2013 -- Consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic – Consumer Watchdog and BEUC – file comments opposing a proposed deal to settle the European Commission’s antitrust investigation of Google. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-groups-both-sides-atlantic-oppose-google-antitrust-settlement

 

Nov. 25, 2013 -- Google is taking advantage of its monopoly position in search to charge merchants more for placement in Google Shopping, causing higher prices for consumers, a Consumer Watchdog study finds.  The group files the study, made Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, with the European Commission as part of its comments on a proposal to settle the Commission’s antitrust investigation of Google. Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-finds-cons... View KABC TV video report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/kabc-tv-7-los-angeles-google-shopping-might-not-have-best-prices-consumer-watchdog-says

 

Nov. 18, 2013 – Thirty-seven State Attorneys General announce $17 million settlement with Google for hacking around the privacy settings on Apple’s Safari Browser and setting tracking cookies. Consumer Watchdog says settlement demonstrates the Internet giant’s business strategy of doing whatever it wants and then buying its way out of trouble when caught breaking the rules. “Google hacked around the privacy settings on Apple’s Safari web browser, set tracking cookies and lied about what it was doing.  Now Google pays the states $17 million, doesn’t even apologize and claims it didn’t break the law,” says John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “When these Google guys get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, they just buy their way out of trouble.  If Google cared a whit about your privacy, they would have apologized. They just view these penalties as a cost of doing business.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-continues-buy-its-way-out-privacy-problems-consumer-watchdog-says

 

Nov. 14, 2013 -- Bipartisan, bicameral Do Not Track Kids bill introduced in Congress by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and in the House by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) Consumer Watchdog endorses bill but adds that all users of the Internet should be entitled to protection by a Do Not Track law. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-do-not-track-kids-bill-says-all-ages-deserve-protection

 

Nov. 6, 2013 -- Google’s latest proposal to settle a European antitrust investigation does nothing to solve the underlying problem of how the Internet giant manipulates results and favors its own services in search, Consumer Watchdog says as it releases the proposal and questions the European Commission is asking about it. Documents detailing the proposed deal were considered confidential by the European Commission.  Early today Consumer Watchdog challenged Google to make them public and said it would do so if Google did not release them by the end of the day. Shortly after Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Google CEO Larry Page is made public, The Financial Times in London makes the documents available on its website. Consumer Watchdog says there is no point in waiting for Google to possibly act, once the FT had published the proposed deal’s details. Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-european-antitrust-settlement-proposal-insufficient-consumer-watchdog-says-grou

 

Nov. 6, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog challenges Google to make public its latest proposal to settle the European Commission’s antitrust investigation, or says it will release the proposed deal if the Internet giant won’t. Consumer Watchdog commented on the first proposal and therefore received a copy of the second offer and was asked its opinion of the proposal, even though the settlement offer wasn’t released to the public.  “Google claims its ‘mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’  You do an amazing job of this -- including making public much of what people would prefer be kept private -- except when the information is about Google,” wrote Privacy Director John m. Simpson in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-challenges-google-make-eu-antitrust-settlement-offer-public-us-public-

 

Oct. 22 -- Google continues to lead tech firms in lobbying expenses during the third quarter, spending $3.4 million on its effort to buy influence with federal legislators and policymakers, according to disclosure forms just filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.  “When the government is open for business, policymaking is all about who has the cash and is willing throw it around,” says Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson. Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-leads-tech-firms-lobbying-expenses-facebook-spending-47-percent

 

Oct. 21, 2013 – Google submits second proposal to settle European Commission’s antitrust investigation. Commission keeps details of proposal confidential.

 

Oct. 17, 2013 -- A coalition of 23 US consumer, privacy and public interest groups, including Consumer Watchdog, write the European Parliament expressing strong support for the proposed European Data Protection Regulation because “we believe that the promotion of stronger privacy standards in Europe will benefit consumers around the globe.” Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/23-us-public-interest-groups-back-european-union-data-protection-regulation

 

Oct. 16, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog joins the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and three other public interest groups in re-iterating their opposition to a proposed $8.5 million settlement in a class action suit against Google for privacy violations in the way it handled users’ search data because proposed recipients of settlement funds don’t represent the interests of the class. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/five-public-interest-groups-underscore-opposition-settlement-google-privacy-suit

 

Sept. 26, 2013 -- In a seminal decision for online privacy, federal Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, CA., rejects Google's claims that wiretapping laws do not apply to its Gmail business and that consumers who email people with Gmail accounts have no legitimate expectation of privacy. “This is a historic step for holding Internet communications subject to the same privacy laws that exist in the rest of society. The court rightly rejected Google's tortured logic that you have to accept intrusions of privacy if you want to send email,” says John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/gmail-judge-holds-internet-a... View Al Jazeera America TV report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/23-us-public-interest-groups-back-european-union-data-protection-regulation

 

Sept. 24, 2013 -- Google’s top executives avoided paying millions of dollars in local property taxes on their fleet of aircraft based at NASA’s Moffett Field, an NBC investigation finds. See the NBC report here: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech/Google-Executives-Globetrotting-on-T...Consumer Watchdog calls for U.S. Attorney to investigate.  Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/investigation-reveals-google-executives-dodged-taxes-planes-based-moffett-field-sweethea

 

Sept. 16, 2013 -- Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) quits Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) Do Not Track negotiations.  Consumer Watchdog says the withdrawal of a major advertising trade association from a group trying to write a Do Not Track standard demonstrates the need for legislation to protect online privacy, Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/ad-industry-association%E2%80%99s-withdrawal-do-not-track-negotiations-shows-need-legislation-co

 

Sept. 13, 2013 -- The Pentagon has ended a deal described two years ago by Consumer Watchdog that allowed a company owned by top Google executives to buy jet fuel for a fleet of aircraft based at Moffett Field. The public interest group says the aircraft should be evicted from the facility and an investigation opened to see if laws were broken.  [Pentagon stopped supplying on Aug. 31.  Suspension was revealed today.] Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/pentagon-ends-sweetheart-fuel-deal-google-execs’-aircraft-moffett-highlighted-consumer-w

 View CNN news coverage here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/cnn-google-loses-nasa-discount-jet-fuel

 

Sept. 11, 2013 -- A federal appeals court rules that Google’s interception of messages from private Wi-Fi networks is not exempt from federal wiretap laws, opening the way for a class action suit in the Wi-Spy case to move forward with possible damages amounting to billions of dollars. “This appeals court decision is a tremendous victory for privacy rights. It means Google can’t suck up private communications from people's Wi-Fi networks and claim their Wi-Spying was exempt from federal wiretap laws,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director. Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/us-appeals-court-rules-google-not-exempt-wiretap-law-wi-spy-suit

 

Sept. 10, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the European Commission to file a formal Statement of Objections against Google in the nearly three-year-old antitrust investigation of the Internet giant and says Google’s latest settlement offer was an attempt to stall the investigation. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-european-commission-charge-google-antitrust-probe

 

Sept. 4, 2013 -- A coalition of six consumer privacy groups, including Consumer Watchdog, calls on the Federal Trade Commission to enforce an earlier consent order with Facebook and block proposed changes in the social network’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and its Data Use Policy because the proposed changes violate the 2011 settlement with the Commission. Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/privacy-groups-urge-ftc-block-pending-facebook-privacy-changes

 

Sept. 4, 2013 – Google argues before Judge Lucy Koh in Federal District Court that it has the right to read people’s emails and build profiles about them.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post about the hearing here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/big-day-san-jose-privacy

 

Aug. 26, 2013 – California Assembly passes AB 370, which would requires a website or online service to disclose how it responds when it receives a “Do Not Track” message. Consumer Watchdog urges Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill because it is a step towards consumer knowledge, but adds that ultimately consumers must have the right to simply say “no” to online tracking. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/16350.

 

Aug. 21, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog joins the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and three other public interest groups in opposing a proposed $8.5 million settlement in a class action suit against Google for privacy violations in the way it handled users’ search data because of at least “three obvious deficiencies” in the proposal. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-joins-epic-opposing-85-million-settlement-google-suit.

 

Aug. 16, 2013 – Google suffers brief outage late in the afternoon.  Internet traffic drops by 40 percent according to GoSquared. Read Consumer Watchdog Blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-outage-shows-internet-giants-reach.

 

Aug. 12, 2013 – Consumer Watchdog points out a legal filing from Google in a class action suit in which it claims people who send an email to a Gmail address have “no legitimate expectation of privacy.”  News release prompts worldwide news coverage.  Read the release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-tells-court-you-cannot-expect-privacy-when-sending-messages-gmail-people-who-care.

 View a CNN news report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/cnn-google-no-legitimate-expectation-privacy.

Read an article from the British newspaper The Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/14/google-gmail-users-privacy-email-lawsuit.

 

July 25, 2013 – Department of Commerce’s National Telephone and Information Agency (NTIA) Multi-stakeholder process approves Transparency Code for Mobile Apps.  Consumer Watchdog says yearlong effort demonstrates the futility of crafting codes of conduct through a voluntary multi-stakeholder process and the way participants were asked their opinion of the proposed code makes a mockery of the effort. Consumer Watchdog calls on President Obama to propose detailed privacy legislation -- something he called for more than a year ago – if he cares about consumers’ privacy. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/effort-craft-apps-%E2%80%9Ctransparency-code%E2%80%9D-shows-futility-multi-stakeholder-process

 

July 22, 2013 -- Technology companies continue to pump money into their lobbying efforts during the second quarter, with Google leading the pack spending $3.36 million on its effort to buy influence with federal legislators and policymakers. Microsoft spent $2.96 million in the second quarter, a company record, and up 47 percent from $2.01 million in the second quarter of 2012. Facebook spent $1.06 million, a 10 percent increase from $960,000 in the second quarter of 2012. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/tech-companies-continue-pumping-millions-lobbying-google-tops-3-million-facebook-spendin

 

July 16, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog praises the co-chairs of an Internet standards-setting working group for rejecting a proposal from the online advertising industry that would have allowed online services to continue profiling users even when a Do Not Track message was sent. John M. Simpson is taking part in the W3C’s Tracking Protection Working Group as an “invited expert.”  Consumer Watchdog formally objected to the ad industry proposal.  Read the news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-rejection-ad-industry%E2%80%99s-sham-%E2%80%9Cdo-not-track%E2%80%9D-proposal

 

June 22, 2013 – FTC is investigating Google’s purchase on antitrust grounds two weeks after Consumer Watchdog urged federal regulators to block the acquisition. Read Consumer Watchdog’s blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-regulators-block-google%E2%80%99s-1-billon-deal-buy-waze

 

June 12, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on federal regulators to block Google’s proposed $1 billion acquisition of Waze, developers of a mobile mapping application, on antitrust grounds. The nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group made the case against the deal in letters to both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Read release with links to letters here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-regulators-block-google%E2%80%99s-1-billon-deal-buy-waze

 

June 11, 2013 -- A broad coalition of 86 organizations and Internet companies – including Consumer Watchdog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, and the American Civil Liberties Union – send letter to Congress demanding swift investigation and reform in light of the recent revelations about unchecked global surveillance of people using the Internet. Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-joins-demanding-congress-end-nsa-snooping-internet-users

 

June 6, 2013 – Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson attends Google annual shareholders’ meeting to press privacy concerns about Google Glass.  Notes hypocrisy of meeting rules that would ban Glass and asks if people will be given right to delete photos and video that was taken without their consent.  Watch video of exchange with CEO Larry Page here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/pointed-questions-about-google-glass-and-privacy

 Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/you-cant-wear-google-glass-internet-giants-shareholders-meeting

 Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-page-clueless-when-it-comes-privacy-concerns-about-glass

 

May 31, 2013 – Google announces it will not allow facial recognition software on its new computerized eyewear, Google Glass.  Consumer Watchdog says announcement is little more than a PR move, as it is keeping the door open for the technology in the future. Read blog post: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-glass-wont-allow-facial-recognition-apps-now

 

May 29, 2013 -- Consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic – Consumer Watchdog and BEUC in Brussels –object to Google’s proposed European antitrust settlement, which relies heavily on labeling Google’s own services and on showing links to rivals in its search results. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-groups-both-sides-atlantic-reject-proposed-google-antitrust-settlement-european

 

May 21, 2013 – Rep. Joe Barton (D-TX) becomes co-sponsor of Rep. Hank Johnson’s H.R. 1913, known as the Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act of 2013. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/rep-hank-johnsons-apps-privacy-bill-gaining-bipartisan-support

 

May 16, 2013 -- Eight members of Congress send letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking tough and necessary questions about the Internet giant's new wearable computing device, Google Glass. The letter from members of the Bipartisan Privacy Caucusis conservative Joe Barton, (R-TX), says, "As members of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, we are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American."   Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/bipartisan-privacy-caucus-asks-important-privacy-questions-about-google-glass

 

May 15, 2013 -- A recent change in the way Google presents its privacy policy violates the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) and the policy is “fundamentally deceptive,” Consumer Watchdog tells Attorney General Kamala Harris. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google%E2%80%99s-new-privacy-policy-display-violates-california-privacy-protection-law-privacy-p

 

May 9, 2013 – Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduces H.R. 1913, the Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act of 2013. Among its co-sponsors is Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).   The bill would require app developers to maintain privacy policies, obtain consent from consumers before collecting data, and securely maintain the data they collect. Consumer Watchdog endorses bill: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-rep-hank-johnson%E2%80%99s-bi-partisan-apps-privacy-bill

 

April 24, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog demands that Google give straight answers about how it handles apps buyers’ personal information when they buy apps from Google Play, a practice that is the target of a formal complaint from the public interest group to the Federal Trade Commission. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-demands-google-give-straight-answers-about-apps-privacy-data-sharing-a

 

April 23, 2013 ­­-- Google apparently is ending an egregious privacy breach involving people who buy apps from its Google Play store using Google Wallet to pay. Consumer Watchdog had filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Google’s practice of sending personal information about apps purchasers to apps developers.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-ending-privacy-breach-consumer-watchdog-targeted-ftc-complaint

 

April 23, 2013 -- Facebook continues its major effort to win friends in Washington, spending $2.45 million on lobbying efforts during the first quarter, a 277 percent increase from $650,000 a year earlier just filed disclosures show. For all of 2012 Facebook’s spent $3.99 million on lobbying, according to records filed with the Clerk of The House of Representatives. Google, after scoring a substantial victory in February when the Federal Trade Commission closed its antitrust investigation with a tap on the wrist, cut sits first quarter lobbying spending by 33 percent to $3.35 million. Read Consumer Watchdog release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/facebook%E2%80%99s-lobbying-spending-soars-277-percent-245-million-first-quarter

 

April 23, 2013 – Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, holds hears on the status of the development of a Do Not Track standard.

 

April 22, 2013 -- A coalition of six consumer and privacy public interest groups including Consumer Watchdog today praise Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W VA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for introducing a Do-Not-Track bill, which would charge the Federal Trade Commission with establishing standards by which consumers could tell online companies, including mobile applications, that they do not want their information collected. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-and-privacy-groups-endorse-rockefeller-blumenthal-do-not-track-bill

 

April 19, 2013 -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles must enact regulations that protect safety and privacy in new regulations it is drafting that would cover Google’s driverless cars and other “autonomous vehicles” traveling on California’s highways, Consumer Watchdog says.  SB 1298, signed into law last September, directs the Department of Motor Vehicles to write regulations covering robot cars by January 2015. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/california-dmv-must-answer-privacy-safety-concerns-driverless-car-regulations-consumer-w

 

April 18, 2013 – Google’s Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette says on Google’s earnings report call that the company’s effective income tax rate was 8 percent in the first quarter.  Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-income-tax-rate-was-only-8-percent

 

April 2, 2013 -- Google may face fines in the millions of dollars in Europe as six countries open formal investigations into how Google combined its privacy and data policies last year without bothering to seek users' consent. The actions by France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain come as Google refused to make changes in privacy policies requested by a group of European data protection authorities. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-may-face-more-fines-privacy-violations-europe

 

April 1, 2013 Google’s Privacy Chief, Alma Whitten, announces she is stepping down. Read Consumer Watchdog blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/googles-privacy-chief-stepping-down

 

March 25, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog files a second complaint that the Federal Trade Commission immediately act against Google’s most recent privacy violation – sharing users’ personal information with apps developers -- after new information became available in a letter from Google to Rep. Hank Johnson. Read blog post here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/consumer-watchdog-files-2nd-request.... Read complaint to FTC here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrftc032213.pdf.

 Read letter to Johnson here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrgooglejohnson.pdf

 

March 20, 2013 -- Eleven Internet Companies are pressing European antitrust regulators to take strong action against Google so that the Internet giant's smaller rivals aren't hurt. And what happens across the pond in this case could have an impact on possible antitrust action in the United States.  The companies, organized by the British shopping comparison website Foundem.

 

March 12, 2013 -- The $7 million deal ending a multi-state investigation of the Google Wi-Spy scandal does virtually nothing to thwart the Internet giant’s repeated privacy violations, Consumer Watchdog says.  The public interest group said Google should pay an amount that would affect its profits. “Asking Google to educate consumers about privacy is like asking the fox to teach the chickens how to ensure the security of their coop,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “The educational video will also drive consumers to the YouTube platform, where Google will just gather more data about them for its digital dossiers." Read News Release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-meaningful-wi-spy-penalties.

View video of Bloomberg Television News report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/google-serial-privacy-violator-simpson-says

 

March 12, 2013 – Thirty-eight states attorneys general announce $7 million settlement with Google in Wi-Spy scandal.  Connecticut led the investigation.  Another provision of the agreement is that Google will make a YouTube video that educates people how to better secure their Wi-Fi networks. Read Connecticut Attorney General’s news release here: http://www.ct.gov/ag/cwp/view.asp?Q=520518&A=2341

 

Feb. 28, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog praises Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W VA) for introducing a Do-Not-Track bill, which would charge the Federal Trade Commission with establishing standards by which consumers could tell online companies, including mobile applications, that they do not want their information collected. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-backs-sen-jay-rockefeller%E2%80%99s-do-not-track-bill

 

Feb. 28, 2013 – Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Richard Blumenthal introduce Do Not Track legislation in the Senate.  Read Senate Commerce Committee release here: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=daf20f21-be4a-4b84-bbb1-e271730a8813&ContentType_id=77eb43da-aa94-497d-a73f-5c951ff72372&Group_id=505cc3fa-a767-40f4-8ac2-4b8326b44e94

 

Feb. 25, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the Federal Trade Commission to act immediately against Google’s most recent privacy violation – sharing users’ personal information with apps developers – and said the penalties for violating a previous consent order should reach into the billions of dollars.  Consumer Watchdog also asks California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate whether Google’s privacy breach also violates California law in addition to violating the so-called “Buzz Consent Order” with the FTC. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-federal-trade-commission-act-against-google%E2%80%99s-app-store-privacy-

 

Feb. 1, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog outlines three priorities focused on consumer privacy that must be emphasized by the next chair of the Federal Trade Commission as Jon Leibowitz steps down from the agency after four years on the job: On Do Not Track Legislation, Data Brokers and 'Wild West' Of Mobile Devices. Read news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/leibowitz-steps-down-consumer-watchdog-says-next-ftc-chair-must-focus-do-not-track-legis

 

Jan. 30, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the Federal Trade Commission to ask Congress to pass Do Not Track legislation because “the self-regulatory effort to design Do Not Track is virtually dead in the water.” Read press release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-ftc-seek-do-not-track-legislation

 

Jan. 23, 2013 – Consumer Watchdog says Google and Facebook continued to pump record amounts of money into their lobbying efforts during 2012 with Facebook’s spending soaring 318 percent in the fourth quarter, while Google’s was up 70 percent for the year. Consumer Watchdog calls record spending a cynical bid to buy influence.  Read press release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-facebook-continue-flood-washington-cash-lobbying-efforts

 

Jan. 22, 2013 – Lobbying reports for 4th quarter 2012 are due with Clerk of The House of Representatives and Senate Office of Public Records.

 

Jan. 10, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog praises Attorney General Kamala D. Harris for releasing guidelines to protect privacy in the mobile ecosystem and says the key recommendations in her "Privacy on the Go" report should be enacted into law to fully protect consumers.  Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-california-ags-mobile-apps-guidelines

 

Jan. 10, 2013 -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issues recommendations for mobile application (app) developers and the mobile industry to safeguard consumer privacy. Thes report provides guidance on developing strong privacy practices, translating these practices into mobile-friendly policies, and coordinating with mobile industry actors to promote comprehensive transparency. Read the release here: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-issues-guidance-how-mobile-apps-can-better

 

Jan. 8, 2013 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on Federal Trade Commission to release the 100-page staff report on the 19-month Google investigation as the only way to “restore a modicum of public trust in the Commission’s ability to serve as an effective antitrust enforcer.” Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-asks-ftc-r... port-google-investigation

 

Jan. 3, 2013 -- The Federal Trade Commission’s settlement with Google fails to end its most anticompetitive practice, Consumer Watchdog says and calls on the Department of Justice and state attorneys general to press forward to end the Internet giant’s monopolistic behavior in search results.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/ftc%E2%80%99s-settlement-google-fails-end-key-abuse-consumer-watchdog-says

 

Jan. 3, 2013 – Federal Trade Commission announces settlement with Google after its nearly two year antitrust investigation.  Settlement includes consent decree providing that Google will license Standard Essential Patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory or FRAND terms.  In a separate letter, but not a consent agreement, Google promised to stop scrapping content from third party sites and give online advertisers more flexibility to simultaneously manage ad campaigns on Google’s AdWords platform and on rival ad platforms.  The FTC failed to address search bias.  Read the FTC’s news release here: http://ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/google.shtm

 

Jan. 1, 2013 – Senate confirms Joshua Wright’s nomination to the Federal Trade Commission to replace Thomas Rosch.  Read Hillicon Valley article here: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/275175-senate-confirms-ftc-fcc-picks

 

Dec. 30, 2012 – Senate confirms William Baer to head the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. Read Hillicon Valley article here: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/275175-senate-confirms-ftc-fcc-picks

 

Dec. 18, 2012 – In face of widespread criticism Federal Trade Commission is now reported planning to continue antitrust investigation of Google into January despite earlier predictions of settlement this week. Read a Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/ftc-under-fire-for-passing-on-googles-search-practices-critics-say/2012/12/18/aec0d708-487f-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html

 

Dec. 18, 2012 – Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt meets with European competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, who heads Europe’s antitrust probe.  After meeting Almunia says, “We have substantially reduced our differences.  I now expect Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January 2013.” Read New York Times article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/technology/google-wins-time-from-eu-antitrust-enforcer.html

 

Dec. 18, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to take over the ongoing federal antitrust probe of Google after the company’s chairman in a news interview equated it with antitrust poster child Microsoft in the 1990s. The Federal Trade Commission appears ready to conclude its 20-month investigation “with no more than a scolding.” Read the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltrholder121812.pdf

 

Dec. 12, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls for a Senate hearing into Google’s “morally bankrupt” tax policies that force taxpayers “to make up for the Internet giant’s unwillingness to pay its fair share." Consumer Watchdog calls for the hearing in a letter to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, urging that Google CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt be called “to testify under oath and explain their company’s flagrant abuse of the tax code to the detriment of all who play fairly." Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltrbaucus121212.pdf

 

Dec. 7, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog praises California Attorney General Kamala Harris for defending consumers’ privacy rights by filing a suit against Delta Airlines for offering a mobile “app” that violates the state’s privacy law. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here:  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-california-ag-defending-%E2%80%98apps%E2%80%99-privacy

 

Dec. 6, 2012 – California Attorney General Kamala Harris files suit against Delta Airlines for offering a mobile app that violates California’s Online Privacy Act.  Read AG’s news release and complaint here: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-files-suit-against-delta-airlines-failure

 

Dec. 4, 2012 – Federal Trade Commission nominee Joshua Wright faces tough questions from members of the Senate Commerce Committee during hearing and pledges to recuse himself from any decisions involving Google for two years.  View a video of the Senate hearing here: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=7b901434-8d5d-43a2-bf82-bcf1f18c758c&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a

 

Nov. 29, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.VA) to oppose Joshua Wright’s Nomination to the Federal Trade Commission, saying, “We cannot imagine a nominee who is more ill suited to serve as a Commissioner.” Read the letter to Sen. Rockefeller here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/ltrrockefeller112912.pdf

 

Nov. 16, 2012 – Judge Susan Illston approves $22.5 million Federal Trade Commission settlement with Google after hearing in U.S. District Court. Gary Reback of Carr & Ferrell represents Consumer Watchdog.  Read her decision here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/illstonorder111612.pdf

 

Nov. 15, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog urges the Federal Trade Commission to file an antitrust suit against Google and proceed to trial in U.S. District Court. The group says the FTC should break up the company and force it to divest its Motorola Mobility subsidiary. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resource/ltrftcgoog111512.pdf

 

Oct. 23, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog’s attorney Gary Reback of Carr & Ferrell files response brief raising the issue of FTC settlement of the Safari hacking privacy breach allowing Google to retaining wrongfully obtained data.  Consumer Watchdog is an amicus curiae in the case. Read the brief here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/cwdresponse102312.pdf

 

Oct. 21, 2012 Google and Facebook continue to pump money into their Washington lobbying efforts in the third quarter with the Internet giant spending its second most amount in one quarter while the social networking company spent its most ever for one quarter. Go to House Lobbying Disclosures Database here: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx

 

Oct. 16, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog praises the European data commissioners for rebuking Google’s unilateral merging of privacy policies and data across its various product lines and called on the Federal Trade Commission to act to protect U.S. consumers. Read release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-eu-data-commissioners-rebuking-google-merged-privacy-policy

 

Sept. 26, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog has calls on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to reject applications from Google and Amazon to buy control of huge swaths of the Internet by purchasing new generic Top Level Domains. Read letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltricann092612.pdf

 

Sept.  25, 2012 -- The driverless car law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at a ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View poses threats to Californians’ safety and privacy, Consumer Watchdog says.

 

Sept. 21, 2012 -- The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed $22.5 million settlement with Google for hacking past privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser fails to include a permanent injunction against violating its “Buzz” Consent Decree with the Commission, one of three reasons it be should be rejected, Consumer Watchdog tells U.S. Judge Susan Illston. In addition to failing to include a permanent injunction the settlement should not be approved because the amount of the penalty is too small and it allows Google to explicitly deny wrongdoing. Gary Reback of Carr & Ferrell represents Consumer Watchdog. Read Consumer Watchdog’s amicus curiae brief here:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/consumerwatchdogftcgoog092112.pdf

 

Sept. 20, 2012 --Consumer Watchdog urges Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D –W.VA) to block attempts by Google and Amazon to buy control of huge swaths of the Internet by purchasing new generic Top Level Domains through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrrockefeller091912.pdf

 

Sept. 10, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog calls on California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a bill that allows Google’s driverless cars on the highway because it does not provide adequate privacy protections for users of the new technology.  In a letter to Gov. Brown Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson wrote SB 1298 “is completely insufficient.  It gives the user no control over what data will be gathered and how the information will be used.”  Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrbrown070912.pdf

 

Sept. 5, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog says the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to launch a program to measure mobile broadband service performance in the United States falls short of providing adequate protection. Cell phone carriers must be required to disclose data speeds in their advertisements if consumers are to benefit.

 

Aug. 28, 2012 -- U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston grants Consumer Watchdog the right to oppose Google's record $22.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission because it allows the Internet giant to deny any wrongdoing. Read Judge Illston’s order granting amicus curiae status here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/illstonorder082812.pdf

 

Aug. 23, 2012 -- Citing deceptive and confusing advertising by mobile phone companies concerning data speeds, Consumer Watchdog petitions the Federal Communications Commission to require wireless carriers to disclose actual network data speeds. Read the petition here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/cwd_petition_for_rulemaking_8-22-12.pdf

 

Aug. 22, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog files a motion in U.S. District Court asking that it be allowed to oppose the $22.5 million settlement the Federal Trade Commission has reached with Google because the agreement allows the Internet giant to deny any wrongdoing. Gary Reback and Robert J. Yorio, of the law firm Carr & Ferrell, file the motion in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group. Read the motion here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ftcgooglemotion082112.pdf

 

Aug. 17, 2012 -- Judge Richard Seeborg rejects proposed settlement in a class action suit against Facebook for using its users’ personal information in “Sponsored Stories” advertisements without their consent. Consumer Watchdog has opposed the settlement.

 

Aug. 16, 2012 – Assembly Appropriations Committee passes SB 1298.

 

Aug. 13, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog writes Felipe Fuentes, Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, seeking to block SB 1298, the autonomous vehicle bill because a supposed privacy-protecting amendment is inadequate. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-california-legislature-require-consumer-privacy-protections-goog

 

Aug. 13, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog calls on antitrust officials to block Google’s proposed acquisition of Frommer’s Travel guides, saying “there is a fundamental conflict between being a search provider and a content provider.” http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-urges-regulators-block-google%E2%80%99s-purchase-frommer%E2%80%99s-travel-guides

 

Aug. 9, 2012 – FTC announces record $22.5 million settlement with Google for violating its earlier “Buzz” Consent Agreement. Deal explicitly allows Google to deny any wrong doing, prompting Commissioner Thomas Rosch to dissent.  Consumer Watchdog calls the settlement “inadequate” because of the provision allowing the Internet Giant to deny liability and vows to seek to block the deal. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/ftc%E2%80%99s-225-million-penalty-google-insufficient-without-admission-wrongdoing-consumer-watc

 

Aug. 2, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog opposes the proposed settlement in a class action suit against Facebook for using Facebook users’ personal information in Sponsored Stories advertisements without their consent, saying that deal “is not fair, adequate or reasonable and provides no direct or indirect benefit to class members.” Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the court here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/fraley_objection_letter_cwd_8-1-12_v.2.pdf

 

July 25, 2012 – Joaquin Almunia, EU’s Competition Commissioner, says that concessions offered by Google to settle antitrust concerns would be applied worldwide. Details not disclosed but Almunia says, “We have enough clarifications so as to start the process of technical meetings.” Without a settlement Google could face fines of around $4 billion.

 

July 20, 2012 – Google’s second quarter lobbying spending soars 90 percent to $3.92 million compared to $2.06 million in the comparable 2011 period. For the first six months of the year Google spent $8.95 million. That compares with $3.54 million in the first six months of 2011.  It comes close to the $9.7 million spent in all of 2011.

 

July 12, 2012, National Telecommunications and Information Agency of Department of Commerce convenes first “multi-stakeholder process” meeting seeking to develop enforceable codes of conduct to implement the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.  This meeting focuses on “transparency” in mobile “apps”.

 

July 10, 2012 – Wall Street Journal reports Google is poised to pay a record $22.5 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission for hacking past privacy settings on iPhones, iPads and computers using Apple’s Safari browser. Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint with the FTC in February after Stanford University Graduate Student Jonathan Mayer discovered what Google was doing.

 

July 2, 2012 – Google offers concessions in EU antitrust case, but details are not disclosed.

 

July 2, 2012 – Transportation Committee approves SB 1298 by vote of 13-0 and refers amended bill to Appropriations Committee.  Amendment will require manufacturer of autonomous car technology to disclose what data it gathers.  This amendment was offered because of privacy concerns raised by Consumer Watchdog, but is insufficient.

 

June 25, 2012 -- Google’s driverless cars should not be allowed on our highways unless strong privacy protections for users of the new technology are implemented, Consumer Watchdog tells the California Assembly’s Transportation Committee. The Committee holds a hearing on SB 1298, the bill that would allow so-called autonomous cars, such as those being developed by Google, on the state’s highways.  Simply listing the data the robot cars will collect does not provide sufficient protection, said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.  Committee holds bill over until July 2.

 

June 21, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog sent its “Google Track Team” comprised of mimes dressed in white track suits to follow shareholders as they gathered for the company’s annual meeting in a bid to focus attention on the Internet giant’s online tracking activity.  See video here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/protesters-focus-privacy-outside-google-meeting. During shareholders meeting John M. Simpson asks Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt about Do Not Track and Wi-Spy.  View video of the exchange here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da2v6zHp-Yo&feature=plcp

 

June 19, 2012 -- In an opinion piece published in POLITICO, Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and John M. Simpson compare the treatment of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch – who was called before Parliament in Britain to answer for hacking into the private phone records of families – and the kid glove treatment Google CEO Larry Page has received in America after a much larger privacy breach in which the new media giant collected personal information from millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world. Consumer Watchdog called for a Congressional hearing to require CEO Page to answer questions under oath about what he knew and when he knew it regarding "Wi-Spy," Google’s massive invasion of the privacy of home Wi-Fi networks.

 

May 31, 2012  – Microsoft announces that its new version of Internet Explorer will ship with Do Not Track turned on by default.

 

May 30, 2012 -- Google’s driverless cars should not be allowed on U.S. highways unless adequate privacy protections for users of the new technology are implemented, Consumer Watchdog says. The nonpartisan, nonprofit group urged the California Assembly to defeat a bill, SB 1298, that would allow Google’s driverless cars on California’s roads unless the legislation is amended to provide adequate privacy protection for users of the technology.

 

May 21, 2012- California Senate unanimously passes SB 1298 that would allow Google’s driverless cars on California Highways.

 

May 21, 2012 -- European Commission finds that Google’s business practices may violate antitrust law. The Commission said it was concerned that Google was favoring its own services in search, copying material from websites of competitors without permission, shutting out advertising competition and placing restrictions on the portability of online search advertising campaigns from its platform AdWords to the platforms of competitors. Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, offered Google the possibility of proposing remedies to the Commission's four concerns “in a matter of weeks.” Otherwise he said the Commission would file a formal list of objections, which could make Google liable for fines of up to 10 percent of its revenue.  Revenue last year was $38 billion.

 

May 17, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog counters Google’s objections to the Federal Communications Commission’s release of detailed documents about the Commission’s investigation of how Google hacked into private Wi-Fi networks and sought broad disclosure of the documents’ contents. Consumer Watchdog has filed a request for the significant documents related to the FCC’s investigation.  Google has opposed much of the request, claiming that portions are commercially sensitive or private personal information.

 

May 16, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes an investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa) into Google’s use of NASA’s Moffett Federal Airfield in Santa Clara County, California, near Google headquarters. Grassley, ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote Charles F. Bolden Jr., NASA Administrator, expressing concern about “troubling allegations regarding the Google fleet of aircraft housed at Moffett Airfield.”

 

May 5, 2012 – Bloomberg News reports that the FTC is negotiating with Google over how big a fine it will pay for hacking past privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser, which is used on iPhones and iPads. Sources say it could top $10 million. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-05-04/google-said-to-face-fine-by-u-dot-s-dot-over-apple-safari-breach

 

 

May 2, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog files a Freedom Of Information Act Request with the Federal Communications Commission seeking all documents related to the Commission’s investigation of the Google Wi-Spy scandal. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-files-foia-request-seeking-all-documents-fcc%E2%80%99s-investigation-google-wi

 

 

April 30, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls for a Senate hearing into the Google Wi-Spy scandal and urges that a key figure known in a Federal Communications Commission report as “Engineer Doe” be granted immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony. CEO Larry Page should also testify. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-senate-hearing-google-wi-spy-scandal

 

April 26, 2012 – FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz tells San Francisco area reporters that the Commission has hired a prominent Washington litigator to lead its antitrust investigation of the Internet giant, the first time in at least five years the federal regulatory agency has taken such a step. The lawyer, Beth Wilkinson, successfully argued for the government that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh be given the death penalty. The move signaled ling the gravity of the government's antitrust investigation against Google. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20488270/google-ftc-antitrust-trial-attorney-wilkinson-mcveigh

 

April 20, 2012 – Google releases mostly un-redacted version of FCC decision to fine Google for impeding Wi-Spy investigation.

 

April 16, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog demands that the Federal Communications Commission release an uncensored version of its highly redacted decision to fine Google $25,000 and files a Freedom of Information Act Request to obtain an uncensored copy.

 

April 13, 2012 – Federal Communications Commission fines Google $25,000 for deliberately impeding and delaying the Commission’s investigation of the Wi-Spy scandal in which Google Street View cars sucked up communications from private Wi-Fi networks as they traveled streets in more than 30 countries. Read the decision here: http://transition.fcc.gov/DA-12-592A1.pdf

 

April 3, 2012 – European Commission opens formal antitrust investigation of how Motorola Mobility is using its patents, possibly unfairly. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/345&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

 

April 2, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog calls on Commerce Department to offer Privacy legislation.  Read Consumer Watchdog’s comments: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ntiacomments040212.pdf

 

March 29, 2012 -- Yahoo! announces its websites would honor the Do Not Track header.

March 26, 2012 – Federal Trade Commission releases final privacy report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers. Report endorses Do Not Track, calls for baseline privacy legislation and legislation to regulate data brokers. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/03/privacyframework.shtm

 

March 1, 2012 – Google’s new combined privacy policies take effect.

 

Feb. 28, 2012: France's data protection authority says a preliminary analysis finds that Google's new privacy policy appears to violate European data-protection rules. The regulatory agency CNIL says Google's explanation of how it will use the data is too vague and difficult to understand "even for trained privacy professionals."

 

Feb. 23, 2012 – Google announces it will offer a Do Not Track mechanism on its browser, Chrome, by the end of the year.  http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57383362-264/chrome-to-support-do-not-track-privacy-feature/

 

Feb. 23, 2012 -- White House issues its privacy report calling fore baseline privacy legislation and a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.  Consumer Watchdog influenced the report.  When issued in draft form by the Commerce Department, it referred to "Commercial Data Privacy."  Consumer Watchdog’s formal comments said that was inappropriate. The final report deals with what is now called "consumer data privacy."

 

Feb. 22, 2012 – 36 states attorneys general voice concerns about Google’s new privacy policies. Read the attorneys general’s letter: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php

 

Feb. 22, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog says agreement committing the leading operators of mobile application platforms to require privacy policies for applications ("apps") is a step forward, but in addition “Do Not Track” regulations must be implemented to fully protect consumers.

 

Feb. 22, 2012 -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ announces agreement committing the leading operators of mobile application platforms to require privacy policies for applications ("apps"). The agreement is with six companies whose platforms comprise the majority of the mobile apps market: Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion.

 

Feb. 17, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the Federal Trade Commission to act against Google for circumventing Safari’s privacy settings and lying to users. Read the letter to the FTC here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrleibowitz021712.pdf

 

Feb. 17, 2012 – Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer finds that Google is circumventing privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser, which is used on iPhones and iPads.

 

Feb. 15, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog asks the House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Committee to hold hearings on Google's new privacy and data policy and to call Google CEO Larry Page "to explain his company's disingenuous statements about its supposed commitment to users' privacy.” Read the letter here:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrbonomack021412.pdf

 

Feb. 13, 2012 – European Union and U.S. Department of Justice approve Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, but vow to monitor how Google will use Motorola’s patent portfolio. DOJ’s decision: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/February/12-at-210.html

Read the Consent Agreement here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/03/google.shtm

Read the letter from Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Article 29 Working Party here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/article-29/documentation/other-document/files/2012/20120202_letter_google_privacy_policy_en.pdf

 

Feb. 2, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog praises European data protection authorities for asking Google to delay implementation of its new privacy and data policies and calls on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to determine whether the new policies violate the terms of Google’s consent agreement with the Commission. Read Consumer Watchdog’s news release here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-praises-european-action-google%E2%80%99s-new-privacy-policy-calls-ftc-determin

 

Feb. 1, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls for a Congressional briefing about Google’s new privacy and data policies to be open to the public and says a closed door-session with the lawmakers demonstrated Google executive’s “hypocrisy.” Read letter to Rep. Mary Bono Mack here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrbonomack020112.pdf

 

Jan. 25, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog says online privacy regulations proposed in Europe today that include the concept of a "right to be forgotten" could help provide U.S. consumers with tools necessary to protect their data held by Internet giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, if ultimately enacted.

 

Jan. 24, 2012 – Google announces that it will combine privacy policies for all its sites and share data across the sites. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/updating-our-privacy-policies-and-terms.html

 

Jan. 23, 2012 -- Consumer Watchdog calls for the EU’s antitrust regulators to block Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility and ultimately issue a formal antitrust complaint against the Internet giant’s ongoing business practices. Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson is in Brussels for a W3C Tracking Protection Working Group meeting. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltreuro012312.pdf

 

Jan. 23, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog says Internet giant Google spent nearly $10 million lobbying federal policymakers in 2012, showing that the company has abandoned its idealistic "Don't Be Evil" roots and has bought into Washington's corrupt "cash and carry" political system.

 

Jan. 20, 2012 – Consumer Watchdog calls on President Obama to endorse Do Not Track in State of Union message. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrobama122012.pdf

 

Jan. 13, 2012 -- Bloomberg News reports the Federal Trade Commission is adding Google's new "Search Plus Your World" to its antitrust probe of the company.  

 

Jan. 10, 2012 – Google launches “Search, plus Your World.” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/search-plus-your-world.html

 

Dec. 15, 2011 – Los Angeles Council votes 12-0 to abandon plans for 13,000 law enforcement employees to use the Google email system.  Google’s “cloud” based system cannot meet the Police Department’s security requirements.

 

Dec. 2, 2011 --Consumer Watchdog calls for a federal investigation into the "Spyphone Scandal", in which software embedded in smartphones surreptitiously tracks users' activities, including their keystrokes and numbers they dialed. The probe should extend beyond the software developer, Carrier IQ, and include operating systems developers like Google and Apple as well as carriers and device manufacturers, Consumer Watchdog says.

Read the report here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/liarsandloansplus021011.pdf.

 

Nov. 16, 2011 -- Office of the Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announces that it shut down 85 online mortgage modification scams that were advertising on Google.  The investigation was prompted by Consumer Watchdog’s Liars and Loans: How Deceptive Advertisers Use Google issued in February.

 

Oct. 31, 2011 – Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson joins W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Tracking Protection Working Group as an “invited expert.”

 

Oct. 18, 2011 -- New documents obtained by Consumer Watchdog show that Google cannot meet the security requirements of the Los Angeles Police Department with its Google Apps for Government, a so-called cloud computing system, which was to have provided the City of Los Angeles with an email system for 30,000 employees.

 

Sept. 21, 2011 – Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt testifies before Senate Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee.  Consumer Watchdog offers written testimony: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/cwdtestimony092111.pdf

 

Sept. 21, 2011 – Consumer Watchdog stages “track-in” demonstrations on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Before Senate Judiciary Antitrust hearing, a troupe of mimes – dressed in white “Google Track Team” suits and wearing Google “Wi-Spy” glasses –track (follow) people around Dirksen Senate Office Building dramatizing how Google is recording everything consumers do on the Internet by tracking Capitol-goers. Consumer Watchdog also follows people around Capitol Hill in a Google-branded ice cream truck and gives away “free ice cream,” to demonstrate that there is no free ice cream and Google’s supposedly free services in fact come at the cost of our privacy. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/blog/google-track-team-covers-washington-dc-during-schmidts-hearing

 

Sept. 19, 2011 – Consumer Watchdog releases third online animated satirical video, Supercharge, satirizing Google CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to dramatize Google’s information monopoly and make the case for Do Not Track Legislation. Watch the video Supercharge at www.consumerwatchdog.org/stalkingthesenator

 

Aug. 24, 2011 -- U.S. Justice Department forces Google to forfeit $500 million because it allowed illegal drug ads through its AdWords program.  Consumer watchdog says the problem of predatory and deceptive advertising on the Internet giant's services continues. Further enforcement action by regulators is needed, Consumer Watchdog says.

 

July 8, 2011 -- Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee in September, the committee says. The announcement comes after an intensive campaign by Consumer Watchdog to require Schmidt's sworn testimony before Congress.

 

July 6, 2011 -- Facebook revises terms for game developers using its “virtual money,” Facebook Credits, changing one blatant anticompetitive provision in the wake of an antitrust complaint from Consumer Watchdog, but Federal Trade Commission Intervention is still necessary, Consumer Watchdog says.

 

June 28, 2011 -- Consumer Watchdog files a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that a virtual currency system called “Facebook Credits” used to play games on Facebook’s social network violates antitrust law. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/cwd_ftc_facebook_credits_complaint-3.pdf

 

June 28, 2011 – Google launches its new social network, Google+. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-google-project-real-life.html

 

June 24, 2011 -- Google announces that it is discontinuing Google Health. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/update-on-google-health-and-google.html

 

June 24, 2011 – Google confirms that it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust violations.

 

May 9, 2011 – Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduces Do Not Track Legislation in the U.S. Senate.

 

May 3, 2011 – California Senate Judiciary Committee approves SB 761, on a 3-to-2 vote after a first-in-the-nation hearing Do Not Track legislation.

 

April 12, 2011 – A coalition of consumer groups and privacy advocates, including Consumer Watchdog, welcomes the bipartisan effort by Senators John Kerry and John McCain to craft online privacy legislation, but said their bill needs to be significantly strengthened if it is to effectively protect consumer privacy rights in today’s digital marketplace.

 

April 4, 2011 – Sen. Alan Lowenthal introduces SB 761, Do Not Track legislation, in the California Senate. Consumer Watchdog is a sponsor of the bill.

 

March 30, 2011 -- Consumer Watchdog praises the Federal Trade Commission for requiring Google to submit to privacy audits for the next twenty years, but says the Internet giant should also face monetary penalties for its abuses.

 

March 30, 2011 – FTC announces Consent Agreement with Google for privacy violations with launch of its “Buzz” social network service. Agreement calls for 20 years of privacy audits of the Internet giant.

 

March 22, 2011 -- Federal Judge Denny Chin rejects the Google Books Settlement. Consumer Watchdog says that Google should finally lear n it cannot usurp and exploit other people’s work and information without first asking permission. Read Judge Chin’s ruling here: http://thepublicindex.org/docs/amended_settlement/opinion.pdf

 

March 17, 2011 -- Consumer Watchdog warns President Obama in a letter about the dire consequences for consumers worldwide of appointing Google CEO Eric Schmidt Commerce Secretary. “Putting Eric Schmidt in charge of policing online privacy is like appointing Bernie Madoff to direct the Securities Exchange Commission.” Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrobama-schmidt3-17-11.pdf .

 

Feb. 18, 2011 -- Consumer Watchdog calls on the Federal Trade Commission to create a “Do Not Track” mechanism to protect consumers’ online privacy and adds that such a mechanism must have the force of law behind it.  The call was in comments filed about The Federal Trade Commission’s staff report Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers. Read Consumer Watchdog’s comments to the FTC here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ftc_comments021811.pdf

 

Feb. 11, 2011 – Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, introduces Do Not Track legislation in the House of Representatives.

Feb. 10, 2011 – Consumer Watchdog study, Liars and Loans: How Deceptive Advertisers Use Google shows the Internet giant has become a leading purveyor of ads by scammers who prey on struggling homeowners. Consumer Watchdog asks the Federal Trade Commission to stop Google from hosting the ads. Read the study here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/liarsandloansplus021011.pdf. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrleibowitz020811.pdf

 

Jan. 26, 2011 – Consumer Watchdog releases second animated satire, Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington, making the case that CEO Eric Schmidt should testify under oath about Wi-Spy and other online privacy issues. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/video/mr-schmidt-goes-washington

http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/LtrIssa012411final.pdf

http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GOOGGovfinal012411.pd... Read the letter to Rep. Issa here:

 

Jan. 24 , 2011 -- Consumer Watchdog sends Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) a 32-page report detailing how Google has inappropriately, benefited from its close ties to the Obama Administration, including how NASA’s Moffett Airfield, near Google’s world headquarters, has been turned into a taxpayer-subsidized private airport for Google executives used for corporate junkets. The report, Lost in the Cloud: Google and the US Government, is drawn from records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews. It found that Google’s ambitious quest for influence with the government is starting to pay off. Read the full report here:

 

Dec. 20, 2010 -- The Do Not Track function proposed in the Federal Trade Commission’s recently released online privacy report must be extended to include smartphones, Consumer Watchdog says in the wake of a Wall Street Journal article showing how applications for the iPhone and Android phones widely share personal data without the users’ knowledge or consent.

 

Dec. 12, 2010 -- The Commerce Department’s “Green Paper” about online privacy is an industry friendly document that would perpetuate current failed practices that give companies, not consumers, control of consumer data, Consumer Watchdog says.

 

Dec. 1, 2010 – FTC Staff issues privacy report offering framework for consumers, businesses and policymakers; endorses Do Not Track. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/12/privacyreport.shtm

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/consumer-watchdog-policy-conference

Agenda, Conference packet, transcript and videos:

 

Dec. 1, 2010 – Consumer Watchdog hosts policy conference, The Future of Online Consumer Protections, at National Press Club in Washington DC. FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck previews FTC staff report on online privacy that calls for implementing Do Not Track.  Department of Commerce Administrator for National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Daniel Weitzner previews the department’s privacy report

 

Nov. 30, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog welcomes the European Union’s antitrust investigation of Google and reiterates its call for the U.S. Justice Department to launch its own investigation of the Internet giant.

 

Nov. 30, 2010 -- The European Commission opens an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google Inc. has abused a dominant position in online search, in violation of European Union rules (Article 102 TFEU).

 

Oct. 29, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog praises a coalition of state attorneys general led by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for continuing an investigation into Google’s Wi-Spying scandal in the wake of the Federal Trade Commission halting its probe earlier this week.

 

Oct. 27, 2010 -- The Federal Trade Commission’s two-page letter ending its probe of the Google Wi-Spy scandal is premature and wrong, Consumer Watchdog says, and it leaves the American public with no official full account of the Internet giant’s repeated invasions of consumer privacy.

 

Sept. 2, 2010 – Consumer Watchdog launches Don’t be Evil satirical video lampooning the Wi-Spy scandal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s lack of respect for privacy and promoting Do Not Track. http://insidegoogle.com/2010/08/do-not-track-me/

 

July 27, 2010 -- A significant majority of Americans are troubled by recent revelations that Google’s Street View cars gathered communications from home Wi-Fi networks, and they want stronger legal protection to preserve their online privacy, including a Do Not Track Option, according to a national opinion poll by Grove Insight, Ltd. for Consumer Watchdog. Read Grove Ltd.’s poll analysis here: http://insidegoogle.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/07/MemInternetPrivacy-0727101.pdf

Read the poll’s topline results here: http://insidegoogle.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/07/wfreInternet.release1.pdf

 

July 22, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog repeats call for Congressional hearings into the Google Wi-Spy scandal during Congressional testimony about federal agency use of Web 2.0 technology. John M. Simpson testifies before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  Written testimony: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Oversighttestimony072210.pdf

 

July 8, 2010 -- 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, an investigation by Consumer Watchdog’s InsideGoogle.com finds. Rep. Jane Harman, D-CA, chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee and former member of the Intelligence Committee has at least one wireless network in her Washington, D.C., home that could have been breached by Google. Read the letter to Harman here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Harman_Jane-7-7-10.pdf.

Read a report about the members’ networks here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Driving-Report-v2.pdf

 

June 11, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog backs call for Congressional hearing on Wi-Spy scandal Consumer Watchdog also calls for the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the incident.

http://insidegoogle.com/2010/06/google-using-search-engine-to-muscle-into-internet-businesses-study-finds-2/

 

June 2, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog releases its study, “Traffic Report: How Google is Squeezing out Competitors and Muscling Into New Markets” that shows how Google unfairly uses search to promote its own properties and services.

 

May 26, 2010 – Consumer Watchdog calls on the state attorneys general to investigate Google’s Wi-Spy snooping in their respective states to determine what state laws were broken. http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/LTRNatAGS052610.pdf

 

May 19, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog formally launches its new Website, Inside Google, to focus attention on the company’s activities and hold Google accountable for its actions. The sites’ URL is http://insidegoogle.com.

 

May 18, 2010 – The White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s former top global lobbyist, is reprimanded for ethics violations that were revealed after a Freedom of Information Act Request from Consumer Watchdog for his email.

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/LTRFTC051710.pdf

 

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

 

April 21, 2010 – Consumer Watchdog writes U.S. Department of Justice to launch antitrust investigation of Google. Says possible remedies should include breaking up the company. Letter to DOJ: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/LTRjustice042110.pdf. Call made at news conference at National Press Club in Washington, DC: http://vimeo.com/11245805

 

April 1, 2010 -- Consumer Watchdog files a Freedom of Information Act request with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy seeking copies of email between Internet Policy chief Andrew McLaughlin and his former employer, Google Inc.  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/OSTPFOIA.pdf

 

Feb. 24, 2010 – Noting that the Justice Department is examining Google’s business practices for possible antitrust issues because of the proposed Books Settlement, Consumer Watchdog asks the DOJ to expand its investigation to include whether Google is manipulating search results to favor its own products. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrvarney022410.pdf

 

Feb. 18, 2010 – Attorneys for Consumer Watchdog appear in a federal court to urge Judge Deny Chinn to reject the revised Google Books settlement because it remains anticompetitive and violates both U.S. and international law. Consumer Watchdog is represented by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP at the Fairness Hearing on the proposed class action settlement.

 

Feb. 9, 2010 – Google launches its new social network, “Buzz.” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/introducing-google-buzz.html

 

Feb. 4, 2010 – U.S. Department of Justice opposes amended Google Books Settlement, saying that while there are improvements, problems remain with class certification, copyright and antitrust issues.

 

Jan. 28, 2010 – Consumer Watchdog files friend of the court brief opposing Amended Google Books Settlement. The brief was filed for Consumer Watchdog by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP.  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/Googlebooks2.pdf

 

Jan. 12, 2010 – Google announces it will make SSL encryption using the HTTPS protocol the default mode for all Gmail users. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/default-https-access-for-gmail.html

 

Dec. 28, 2009 – Consumer Watchdog and Center for digital Democracy urge Federal Trade Commission to block Google’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob.  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/LtrFTCfinal.pdf

 

Nov. 5, 2009 – Google launches “Dashboard” to give users “transparency, choice and control” of user data stored by the company.  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/transparency-choice-and-control-n...Consumer Watchdog says new feature is step in the right direction, but doesn’t give consumers adequate control of their information.

 

Oct. 12, 2009 -- Former Genentech chief executive Arthur D. Levinson, a member of both Google and Apple's boards, resigns from Google's board.

 

Sept. 22, 2009-- Publisher and author associations seek to cancel a key hearing in the Google Books case to allow private negotiations with Google over digitizing books online. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/Publishersmemo.pdf

 

Sept. 18, 2009 – Justice Department objects to proposed Google Books settlement. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/DOJbrief.pdf

Video: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_090910.html

Written Testimony: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/Judiciarytestimony091009.pdf

 

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

 

Sept. 8., 2009 -- Consumer Watchdog files a friend of the court brief urging a federal court to reject the proposed Google Books settlement because it is anticompetitive and violates both U.S. and international law. The brief was filed for Consumer Watchdog by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP.  http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/Googleamicusbrief.pdf

 

Aug. 3. 2009 – Consumer Watchdog calls for Genentech Board Chairman Arthur D. Levinson to quit as a director of either Internet giant Google or Apple to avoid antitrust violations. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-calls-genetech-exec-quit-either-google-or-apple-board

 

June 16, 2009 – Google announces it will test offering SSL encryption using the HTTPS protocol as the default setting for Gmail and intends to offer it for all Gmail users. http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/06/https-security-for-web-applications.html

 

June 3, 2009 --Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy urge the White House not to move forward with the pending appointment of Google’s top global public policy official, Andrew McLaughlin, to the position of Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House, saying it would violate the intent of President Obama’s ethics rules meant to end the revolving door between lobbyists and the executive branch. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-groups-obama-google-lobbyists-appointment-technology-post-raises-ethics-rules-q

 

April 28, 2009 -- First quarter federal reports show Google lobbied on the electronic medical records provisions of the federal economic stimulus act, contradicting the Internet giant’s earlier claims that Consumer Watchdog’s report of its effort was “100 percent false.”

April 1, 2009 -- Consumer Watchdog Calls on Justice Department to block Google Books Settlement: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrjusticegooglebook040109.pdf

 

Feb. 7, 2009, Google Executive Bob Boorstin tries to get Consumer Watchdog’s funding cut. This is the e-mail exchange between Boorstin and Tim Little, executive director of the Rose Foundation: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/boorstin-littleemailexchange.pdf

 

Jan. 27, 2009 – Consumer Watchdog calls on Google to cease a rumored lobbying effort aimed at allowing the sale of electronic medical records in the current version of the Economic Stimulus legislation.  Google Health would benefit.

 

Nov. 18, 2008 – Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson confronts Google Chairman Eric Schmidt at a Washington, DC speech and asks about Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Google.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKybBlEjSyk

 

Nov. 16, 2008 – Consumer Watchdog releases video detaining privacy issues with Gmail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dg7pVFVqMMg

 

Oct. 13, 2008 – Inside Google Project begins with letter to Google’s board expressing privacy concerns about Google’s new browser Chrome. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/LtrGoogle10-13-08.pdf

 

Oct. 1, 2008:  Consumer Watchdog launches Inside Google Project with video demonstrating privacy concerns about Google’s new browser, Chrome. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ncerhCLi2o0