Picture a 540-square-foot animated ad, a cartoon video mocking Google's CEO Eric Schmidt; now picture it running twice an hour, 36 times per day, in New York's Times Square. Consumer Watchdog has launched a huge and very public campaign against Google, highlighting its concerns over Google's privacy policies and the need for Congress to enact a national 'Do Not Track Me' list. The massive cartoon digital advertisement is titled “Don’t Be Evil?” The avatar-style animation features Schmidt driving an ice cream truck and offering "free" ice cream while he secretly spies on children.
You can see the 15 second digital Jumbotron ad here: Meet Google CEO Eric Schmidt. He's collecting YOUR personal information. --Tell Google to Stop Tracking Your Every Move. Text EVIL to 69866, message and data rates may apply....
Consumer Watchdog’s InsideGoogle.com mocks 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.”
Schmidt has appeared clueless regarding privacy himself, Consumer Watchdog said. Due to the lack of respect for privacy that Google's Schmidt has shown, Consumer Watchdog also launched a website focused on the Internet giant called Inside Google.
When questioned about privacy, Schmidt can't seem to stop saying utterly ridiculous things which come back to bite him. A prime example was when Schmidt stated, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Recently Schmidt's comments to the Wall Street Journal suggested that children may want to change their names when they grow up to escape the embarrassing online mistakes of their youth that will have been recorded on social networking sites. Schmidt also predicted that Google will know so much about its users that they will want Google "to tell them what they should be doing next."
If you've had it with Schmidt's attitude about privacy, you really should watch the full animated short, Don't Be Evil?
The cartoon video, slams Schmidt and Google. It shows Schmidt driving around in a Google ice cream truck. A group of children run up to get some free ice cream that Schmidt is offering, but he says, "I already know your favorite flavors. Hold still while we collect some of your secrets. And if there is anything you don't want anyone to know, well you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Then cartoonish Schmidt gives a sinister laugh before adding, "Remember kids you can't believe everything your parents say about privacy." After that, he tells each child what their parents have been doing on the Web. The video ends with a plea for viewers to call Congress and urge lawmakers to establish a "do not track" list.
According to InsideGoogle.com's national poll, 80% of Americans support a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list. 90% said that it is important to “have more laws that protect privacy of your personal information” online. The poll also showed strong support to protect Internet privacy including these steps:
• Require the creation of an “anonymous button” that allows individuals to stop anyone from tracking their online searches or purchases: 86% favor; 9% oppose.
• Ban the collection of any personal data on children under the age of 18: 84% favor; 10% oppose.
• Prevent online companies from tracking personal information or web searches without your explicit, written approval: 84% favor; 11% oppose.
• Ban online companies from tracking and storing information related to children’s online behavior so they can target them with advertising: 83% favor; 12% oppose.
• Require the creation of a “do not track me” list for online companies that would be administered by the Federal Trade Commission: 80% favor; 12% oppose.
Do you want Google or any other online company looking over your shoulder, spying on you, and tracking your every move online just so it can increase its profits? Consumers have a right to privacy and a right to control how their information is gathered and what it is used for. Go here to sign a ‘Do Not Track Me’ petition or go here for more information.
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
Smith is an independent contractor and is not affiliated with any vendor that makes or sells information technology.
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