Consumers “Outraged” over Google Tracking of Internet

Washington, DC, February 17, 2012 –– In response to news reports that Google used a work around to trick the Safari browser into allowing them to track web browsing of their users, Steve Pociask, President of the American Consumer Institute, made the following statement:

“Consumers are outraged at news reports today that Google used a work-around hack to “trick” the Apple Safari browser into allowing the dominant Internet and advertising company to track the web browsing habits of millions of Apple users. Google’s willful disregard for the privacy choices of consumers and the privacy policies of Apple is a new low even for Google. Unfortunately for consumers, this move is only the latest example of Google’s bad acts when it comes to protecting users’ privacy and promoting consumer transparency. Whether it’s illegally collecting user data through its Street View product, posting confusing and sometimes conflicting privacy policies or settling with the FTC for violating its own privacy policy with Google Buzz, the company has proven that it has little regard for the privacy rights of consumers. This behavior should make all consumers, and policymakers, question Google as it prepares to radically and retroactively change its privacy policies next month to allow the Internet giant to learn even more about consumers who interact with Google anywhere on the web. We cannot trust what Google is doing with the personal online information of consumers, and we cannot believe that Google will fix these privacy violations on its own.”

“Additionally, the company has been criticized by a federal judge for copying the work of authors without their permission for its Google books project, and last year had to surrender $500 million in profits in a settlement with the Justice Department for knowingly running ads for phony and dangerous pharmaceuticals. This track record of bad behavior makes clear why Google simply cannot be trusted and has been the target of investigations by the FTC, the Justice Department and state attorneys general, while facing criticism by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Clearly, Google cannot be trusted to Do No Evil. Scrutiny needs to be heightened by regulators and policymakers. Because of the ongoing pattern of online privacy violations, Google should be banned from collecting online consumer information until it can settle and abide with its own policies.”

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