Privacy and Technology

Privacy & Technology

Consumer Watchdog believes individuals have a right to control their personal information and how -- or if – the data is used by corporations. Consumers should be able to go online, make purchases and use their mobile phones without their every move being tracked and recorded.

As the Internet has become increasingly important in consumers’ daily lives, we have focused our recent privacy efforts on protecting consumers online and in the evolving Internet of things.

We have also worked to stop the premature deployments of renegade technology, such as robot cars, without appropriate safety and privacy protections.  For example, our campaign to expose the problems with “Google glass,” and its intrusive spying in public spaces, led to abandonment of widespread use of the technology.

Consumer Watchdog advocates for greater accountability for online giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon and works to uncover their violations of ethics, social mores and the rule of law. We fight to apply anti-trust, price gouging and unfair completion laws to online companies that increasingly push the lines of propriety and try to reshape our values.

 

Focus Area:

Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog Call on DMV to Investigate Deceptive Tesla “Autopilot” marketing

Los Angeles, CA -- The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles today to investigate the dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices and representations made by Tesla Motors, Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature.  

Consumer Watchdog Calls for Strong Regulations on Robot Car Testing After NTSB Crash Report Reveals Deficiencies in Uber’s Technology

LOS ANGELES, CA – Robot car developers cannot be trusted to safely test their cars on public roads without strong government regulation and oversight, said Consumer Watchdog today, after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a report revealing that the Uber car that killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March had its automatic emergency braking system turned off as part of its effort to test its robot technology.

As Americans Hit the Road for Memorial Day, Consumer Watchdog Poll Finds Voters Want Congress to Apply the Brakes on Driverless Cars

LOS ANGELES, CA – As Americans Hit the Road for Memorial Day driving their own cars, voters surveyed in four states 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, according to public opinion poll conducted for Consumer Watchdog released today.

Consumer Watchdog Backs California DMV’s Call For Robot Car Makers To Explain Robot Car Failures

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today 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.

Consumer Watchdog Calls on DMV to Open Robot Car Application Process to Public after Waymo Application Is Deemed Ready for Review

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today 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.

The department would not identify the applicant, but Consumer Watchdog learned it was Waymo, originally Google’s autonomous car unit. A DMV spokesperson would not specify a timeframe but estimated it would take at least some weeks before a final decision is made on the application.

Google’s First-Quarter Lobbying Expenditures Top $5 Mmillion; AT&T, Comcast Each Surpass $4 Million

LOS ANGELES, CA – Google’s lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of this year topped $5 million, as the Internet giant sought to influence federal policymakers on issues including online privacy, competition, online advertising and online sex-trafficking, Consumer Watchdog said today.

DMV Says First Application for Testing Robot Cars Without Driver Lacked Needed Information

LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed today that the first application to test robot cars without a driver lacked necessary information and that a letter has been sent to the still-unidentified applicant asking for additional information.

No Free Lunch on Facebook

Much of the criticism of Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in Congress from the public and the media alike was leveled at members of Congress for asking supposedly stupid questions rather than at Mark Zuckerberg for his disingenuous responses. "Congress doesn't understand Facebook," claimed Dylan Byers of CNN.

Consumer Watchdog Calls on Google, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to Follow Facebook and Drop Opposition to Privacy Ballot Initiative

LOS ANGELES – Consumer Watchdog today 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.