Consumer Watchdog ads mock Google CEO Eric Schmidt (with video)

Consumer Watchdog’s has taken its online privacy campaign to New York’s Times Square, where it has purchased a 540 sq. ft. Jumbotron digital advertisement promoting 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, in the press release. “America needs a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list and Google is Exhibit A in the case for it.”

Titled “Don’t Be Evil?” the CG animation features Schmidt driving an ice cream truck and secretly spying on children. The animated short was produced by the nonprofit consumer group to shine a spotlight on the need for Congress to enact a national “Do Not Track Me” list.

MacDailyNews Take: Jumbotron that thing for as long as it takes! First quarter Super Bowl ad, too, please!

Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” but recent actions reveal that the Internet giant has lost its way, Consumer Watchdog said. Google has collected massive amounts of personal data from Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars, made private Gmail contacts publicly available on Buzz, and done a complete about-face on net neutrality, joining with Verizon in calling for toll lanes on the Internet.

Schmidt has appeared clueless regarding privacy himself, Consumer Watchdog said. When questioned about privacy, he has said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Recently, he suggested children could change their names when they got older if they wanted to escape what was embarrassing and public in their online lives.

“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 online,” said John M. Simpson, director of the group’s Inside Google Project, in the press release.

A “Do Not Track Me” list would prevent online companies from gathering personal information, just as Congress had the Federal Trade Commission create a Do Not Call list to prevent intrusive telemarketers from invading consumers’ privacy.
Privacy protection is overwhelming popular. 80% of Americans support a “Do Not Track Me” list according to a July national poll conducted by Grove Insight. 90% said that it is important to “have more laws that protect privacy of your personal information” online.

The poll found 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.

Read the poll’s topline results (.pdf) here.

Read Grove Ltd.’s poll analysis (.pdf) here.

Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Consumer Watchdog’s website is Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website:

Source: Consumer Watchdog

MacDailyNews Take: Couldn’t happen to a creepier mole.


  1. @Frobots

    Google is indeed pushing Microsoft out, but it’s still a major threat to Apple. More importantly, though, it’s a major threat to us. Microsoft is/was just a greedy & ruthless company looking for money. Google, on the other hand, is all about gaining power & information to change the world. And not in a good way.

  2. @ Moo
    I’ve been using <> for quite a while, as an alternative to Google or Bing.

    It does not pass on your IP or any personal info to anyone, and it’s ad free as well. I find it just as good as Google, which I don’t use anymore – good riddance.

  3. Umm.. just remember Apple is no angel when it comes to collecting personal info, too. So, you can gloat all you want. Google is not alone in doing this. The data is just too valuable to Google, Facebook, Apple, and others to resist keep their hands off. Do no evil. Right!

  4. Nothing is free but its nice to get free services like what google offer ppl dont always have money really what is the greatest harm google can do with a lot of our personal info. Give me an example that is not illegal.

  5. This (and similar campaigns) will benefit Microsoft by contributing to some people’s decision to start using Bing, where Microsoft will harvest those people’s personally identifiable information. In fact, has anyone checked to see if Microsoft, the Gates Foundation, or that sleaze Paul Allen have made any large contributions to Consumer Watchdog, or perhaps did the professional job of making this video? Microsoft is a fighter, and has done such stealth attacks before.

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