It seems that this so called "Costumer Watchdog" only have eyes for Google, I'd like to see where their finances come from, I mean Google made mistakes but surely there are many other corps that are much worthy of the attention of a consumer advocacy group.
So the "consumer's" that this group is watch-dogging for bear no blame for having unsecured wifi? Give me a break! That akin to leaving my keys in the ignition of my car in Newark and walking away.
Inside Google was already the name of Nathan Weinberg's blog
That website is a conspiracy theorists heaven. I'm afraid I'm very sceptical of a website that is so dedicated to finding and publishing all the "bad" it can find on one single company. I'm off to find some sensible, impartial commentary.
CW got a $100,000 grant from the "Rose Foundation" specifically to attack Google. It has changed its name in the past and is basically a "rent-a-quote" type organization. The Rose Foundation in turn receives financing from Microsoft.
CW has been attacking Google with extremist positions for years. They are paid to do so and won't stop until the money runs out.
EFF post on the Wifi gaffe – or "WiSpy effort" as CW calls it:
<<(...) as the clear market leader when it comes to search, Google should have the best privacy practices in the business. With great success comes great responsibility. Google isn't a little start-up anymore. Even when it doesn't make mistakes, it regularly handles personal, intimate information from billions of people around the world. It's time for Google to lead the way in responsible data collection and retention practices.>>
InsideGoogle.com referenced at
Sent the following to Consumer Watchdog, will update in case there is an answer:
I have a question, as it popped up at Blogoscoped – does
ConsumerWatchdog receive any money from Microsoft?
If anyone knows more about this bit, please share...
> I have a question, as it popped up at Blogoscoped – does
> ConsumerWatchdog receive any money from Microsoft?
Consumer Watchdog John Simpson's answer:
Of course John Simpson says no. He receives his money from the Rose Foundation, not Microsoft. The Rose Foundation in turn doesn't break down who donates or why.
The MS sourcing was a story that cropped up some time last year, I think the WSJ covered it. Now I can't find some of the original articles I read – sucks to be me, I lose my point and some credibility too.
Unfortunately there's lots more to dislike about CW. For instance, how did they get into this whole privacy advocacy business? Other than receiving $100,000 of course. Actually now their budget is doubled to $200k.
Well they are strongly linked to (created by?) a professional PR firm, grassroots.com which says
"Grassroots Enterprise, a division of Edelman, is an award-winning grassroots communications practice that will help you access powerful, authentic voices to convey your message to those with the power to affect you. We are a fully-integrated part of Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations firm"
And what of Mr Simpson himself? Does he really care about privacy? Or does he just hate Google? Fortunately we don't have to guess, he told the Washington Post exactly what motivates him:
He's no longer in the newspaper business, having lost two jobs during restructurings .... "you become convinced something is wrong with corporate America if someone who has loyally worked for 30 years can be thrown out on his ass". He found a calling when his wife saw a Consumer Watchdog want ad looking for "hell-raisers." He speaks as plainly as his brown L.L. Bean boat shoes. "I'm a hell-raiser. That was what I was hired to be," Simpson said. "The more I looked, the more I saw that this company was abusing its market power to dominate book search and now the mobile marketplace."
Hmmm no wonder he likes attacking Google – it was his new job!
Hell raiser is sadly a good description. Though he claims to be a technological privacy expert specifically, anything will do, having given quotes on books and other such things. And sadly he isn't above just making stuff up:
"Simpson defended the use of hearsay to make public allegations, arguing that it was appropriate for an advocate. "I don't see any obligation in particular to call up the other guy and get his side of the story," he said, adding, "We don't lie, but we put out the facts we think are interesting.""
These guys just piss me off. They aren't FOR anything, they are just AGAINST, and the root cause is always $$$. Would he be campaigning on this topic if he weren't being paid big bux? I think not. It'd be some other topic instead, or he'd still be unemployed.
I asked John more questions about financing, thanks M.