Feeds

Google seeks starvation of growling watchdog

(Semi-)apology for money-snuffing missive

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has attempted to cut the funding of a well-known public watchdog, after the organization launched a "guerrilla" attack on its Washington lobby operation.

In a statement sent to The Register this morning, Google apologized for the incident. But it has yet to apologize directly to the parties involved.

In late January, the Los Angeles-based Consumer Watchdog issued a press release urging Google to cease a "rumored lobbying effort aimed at allowing the sale of electronic medical records" via President Obama's economic stimulus bill.

The Mountain View search giant now runs an online medical records service dubbed Google Health. But it vehemently denied Consumer Watchdog's claim, and in the past, it has said it has no intention of serving ads on the service.

Two weeks after the press release was issued, Google's director of corporate and policy communications, Bob Boorstin, sent a note to the Rose Foundation, the philanthropic organization that funds Consumer Watchdog's ongoing investigation into Google's privacy practices. In the note, Boorstin suggested that the foundation reconsider its support for the public advocate.

"In the case of Consumer Watchdog, I want to point out that they have taken it upon themselves to launch attacks upon Google that are totally fictitious," he wrote.

"Most recently, they accused our company - without any evidence whatsoever and actually referencing 'a rumored lobbying effort' in a press release - of trying to obtain permission to sell patient medical records. I am hoping that as you consider the activities of your grantees and whether to renew your commitments, you will take these kinds of activities into account and consider whether there might be better groups in which to place your trust and resources."

Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court soon responded by firing his own letter at Google CEO Eric Schmidt, questioning the company's priorities in light of the Boorstin incident.

"We have tried to constructively engage Google on its privacy problems for about six months now," Court wrote. "So it's remarkable that Google's most rapid and substantive response to our privacy concerns is a letter from your director of Corporate and Policy Communications to the charity funding our work seeking an end to its support.

"One would think Google's top executives have more important priorities than defunding a consumer group critical of your lack of privacy protections. Nonetheless, I am writing to offer some observations about Google's less than open corporate culture, its opaque public policymaking division and some suggestions for change and moving forward."

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Rumor has it...

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.