Consumer Watchdog has stepped up its campaign against Google, taking out a massive ad in Times Square to mock CEO Eric Schmidt.
The 540 square foot Jumbotron digital advertisement carries an animated video satirizing Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s attitude toward consumer privacy.
"We’re satirizing Schmidt in the most highly-trafficked public square in the nation to make the public aware of how out of touch Schmidt and Google are when it comes to our privacy rights," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. "America needs a 'Do Not Track Me' list and Google is Exhibit A in the case for it."
Titled 'Don’t Be Evil?' - echoing the company's notorious motto - the animation features Schmidt driving an ice cream truck and secretly spying on children. The idea is to put more pressure on Congress to enact a national 'Do Not Track Me' list.
Consumer Watchdog is angered not only by Google's 'inadvertent' collection of personal data from Wifi networks through its Street View cars and its publication of private Gmail contacts through Buzz, but also its 'complete about-face' on net neutrality, joining with Verizon in calling for toll lanes on the internet.
The group doesn't think much of Schmidt's previous statements on privacy - particularly his suggestion that people should change their
namesif they wanted to escape an embarrassing online past.
"We think there should be another way to protect the public’s online privacy: a 'Do Not Track Me' list that prevents Google or any other Internet company from tracking your every move "said John M Simpson, director of the group’s Inside Google Project.
A 'Do Not Track Me' list would prevent online companies from gathering personal information in a similar way to the FTC's 'Do Not Call' list. Consumer Watchdog says that 80 percent of Americans support the idea, and that 90 percent want more privacy laws.
However, the poll, conducted by Grove Insight, may need taking with a pinch of salt. According to its findings, 12 percent of Americans would be more likely to vote for their Congressperson if they found out that he or she had been taking campaign funds from Google and then refused to hold a hearing on the Street View scandal.
One wonders if they were taking the issue asseriously as Consumer Watchdog would like.