Don’t Be Evil, Don’t Track Me

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

A California-based consumer group is displaying a video on a Times Square jumbotron that attacks Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, and his company’s privacy policies.

The video is part of Consumer Watchdog‘s ‘Don’t Track Me’ campaign, which is urging the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would create a list of consumers who do not want Internet companies tracking their online activities – similar to the ‘do not call’ list that bans unsolicited telemarketing calls.

An article on quotes Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, as saying, “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.”

The organizaiton noted “Google’s unauthorized collection of unencrypted data traveling over Wi-Fi networks, its Buzz social-networking service, and recent policy proposal with Verizon regarding net neutrality as evidence that Google has ‘lost its way’.”

An unnamed Google spokesperson pointed out to that Google provides tools for users to control their privacy online, like Google Dashboard, Ads Preference Manager, Chrome incognito mode and ‘off the record’ Gmail chat. (See Ed.)

The Times Square ad, projected on a 540 sq. ft. screen, is a 15-second animated short featuring a bobble-headed Schmidt as an evil ice cream man. “He’s collecting YOUR personal information,” a message flashes on the screen. It then urges viewers to ‘tell Google to stop tracking your every move’ by texting ‘EVIL’ on their mobile phones to 69866.

A longer, 1:34 minute version of the video on YouTube shows Schmidt offering children free ice cream and then ordering a Google employee concealed in the van to take “full body scans” of those who accept.

“I already know your favorite flavors,” the cartoon Schmidt says. “If there’s anything you don’t want anyone to know, well, you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” He then tells the kids about their parents’ questionable Web activities and takes out ‘Google Wi-Spy glasses’ before being chased away by angry parents.

The video ends by asking viewers to ask Congress for a ‘do not track me’ list.

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