Consumer Advocacy Group Wants Google’s Larry Page To Stop Hiding From Congress

Approximately two weeks ago, I wrote about how Congress grilled Google over its plans to more intrusively harvest the personal information of its users and the changes to its privacy policies, which are due to take effect on the 1st of March.

discussed in that posting, which I titled “American Congress Grills Google Over Privacy“, how there was a bipartisan effort made by several lawmakers who were very concerned about Google’s actions and what it means for vulnerable Americans everywhere in the country (click here).

The lawmakers, led primarily by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif and by Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D- N C, sent a strongly-worded letter to Google in late January to ask for the CEO of Google, Larry Page, to come to a hearing to justify the actions of his company. However, Mr. Page refused to attend himself and instead sent two executives from Google to take his place to answer questions back in Thursday, February 2nd.

 Who knows why exactly Mr. Page felt that he did not need to go himself even though he is the founder and head of his company. I have written here before that Mr. Page has an awkward and quite suspicious aversion to giving interviews, so much so that in one particular year he only allocated 8 hours in total for interviews to the media. Now, it might be that this man just doesn’t like the spotlight on him, but skipping an important hearing before lawmakers to answer critical questions regarding privacy is unacceptable. Period.

Anyhow, Mr. Page’s minions, who were asked to take his place, ended up failing their mission. After an intense two hour meeting with the lawmakers it did little to alleviate concerns – in fact, it actually made things worse. In an interview after the hearing, Rep. Mary Bono Mack spoke to the media where she said that the Google executives were not “forthcoming” with their responses to questions and that she was left confused and more concerned than she was going into the meeting. She even suggested that people stop using Google services altogether “if Google goes too far”.

And now, in a letter made public today, a non-profit advocacy group called Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to those same lawmakers to ask CEO Larry Page to appear before a committee “to explain his company’s disingenuous statements about its supposed commitment to users’ privacy.”  Yesterday, I wrote an article on here myself where I also pointed out how Google has a problem with telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth (click here). The letter goes on to say,

“As Google’s chief executive, the buck stops with Mr. Page. He should be called to explain the difference between his underlings’ statements and the company’s actions, particularly the recently announced change in Google’s privacy policy and how it handles user data across its services…Google’s practices affect millions of Americans. Google is so dominant on the Internet that for many people Google is the Internet…You must not allow Google to escape legitimate privacy concerns by sending underlings whose high-sounding pledges prove to be empty or whose answers prove insufficient…It is the chief executive who is ultimately responsible for the company’s behavior”

Consumer Watchdog wants the meeting to be made public so that everybody can witness and directly hear what Google has to say. The group also agrees with another privacy advocacy group, The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in arguing that Google violated its consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

For more information on this story, please click here.

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