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Watchdog Argues Against Schmidt For Commerce Secretary

Google critics speak out again

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Last week, rumors indicated that Google CEO Eric Schmidt might be in the running for the position of U.S. Commerce Secretary.  Now, the organization called Consumer Watchdog – which is perhaps Google’s most outspoken critic – has come out strongly against the idea.

Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court and Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson wrote in a public letter to President Obama, “Mr. Schmidt’s views on privacy, antitrust issues, workers rights and commercial growth are inimical to the ethical customs, social mores and rules of law the American people have demanded of their leaders.”

Then, in a criticism of both Schmidt and Google, Court and Simpson continued, “Reckless data mining in pursuit of profit is how Mr. Schmidt became a billionaire, but it should not be the official policy of the Commerce Department, which is the federal agency charged with establishing and executing the Administration’s official online privacy policies.  Putting Eric Schmidt in charge of policing online privacy is like appointing Bernie Madoff to direct the Securities Exchange Commission.”

Finally, the pair provided a sort of “worst of” collection of quotes from Schmidt:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

“We know where you are, we know where you have been, we can more or less know what you are thinking about.”

“There is what I call the creepy line.  The Google Policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

That could provide everyone involved with the Commerce Secretary decision a little food for thought, although we’ll note again that it hasn’t even been confirmed whether Schmidt’s in the running.

Watchdog Argues Against Schmidt For Commerce Secretary
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  • Adsense Publisher

    The only other problem I see besides the fact that Schmidt still has stock in Google is him favoring legislation that favors Google or Corporate America over protecting the people’s right to privacy. It would put him in a position that would create a conflict of interest and therefore he shouldn’t have a position like that. While his opinions are most welcome on the subject, I don’t think he’s the right person to be running the show.

  • zen

    I totally agree with Consumer Watchdog’s “Putting Eric Schmidt in charge of policing online privacy is like appointing Bernie Madoff to direct the Securities Exchange Commission.” statement.

    That will really be a bad idea.

  • CIA Director Maybe

    Who knows more about me? The Government, My Cable Company, or, Google?

    I’d like to think that each of them is benevolent but each new law that erodes The Constitutional Rights of the citizens and each new revelation of data mining by Google really has me wondering if they really are. The line gets thinner and thinner every day and I sometimes wonder if I should just throw this digital age in the trash can and take my privacy back.

    What would have happened if when Google came driving down my street taking pictures for Street View they only got a picture of my house and there was no Wi-Fi network for them to connect to and read my e-mails etc. from? What would happen if I didn’t use Google Search where my every search is tracked by Google? What would happen if I did’t use Google Chrome as a browser where my internet travels are reported to Google? What would happen if I didn’t use G-Mail to communicate with relatives, friends, and business associates? What would happen if I didn’t use G-Talk to text chat, video chat, and voice chat with? What would happen if I didn’t use Google Voice to make phone calls with? What would happen if I didn’t put documents up on Google Docs?

    The US Government and its monitoring of us that has come under the guise of the War on Terrorism has some equally creepy things whether it is them having the ability to monitor my phone calls, e-mails, websites I visit. But seriously do they really need to have me go past the TSA Perv’s and have my body scanned when I take a flight? I’m in my mid 50′s, white christian, never lived outside the US other than when I served in the military, and I occasionally get a traffic ticket about every 10 or, 15 years.

    I have cable supplying my TV, Internet, and Phone service to my home. Now I can be comforted in knowing that they can now put together a system to feed me ads on my digital TV that mat specifically target me based on the TV programs I watch, Internet Sites I visit, and Phone calls I make to businesses.

    Am I just being paranoid here? Does their benevolence really exist? Why are they going through such intense efforts to know everything about me? What are they really doing with all the information they are gathering on me? Considering all the information they are gathering how much effort does it take for them to go through everything they know about me?

    The Creep Factor is really big here and seems eerily similar to George Orwell’s 1984, and passages from Revelations in The Bible. The recent revelation the our government is working towards <a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/2025/2025_Global_Governance.pdf" One World Governance in collusion with the leading bankers and corporations makes it clear that perhaps it is coming down to a time when we have become the enemy. The old adage of keep your friends close and your enemies even closer may seem to apply here.

    My thoughts that they are benevolent is certainly eroding and I’m having Anti-Trust Issues. I’m powerfully close to pulling the plug and dropping out of the digital age. It might be time to head to that remote area and lead the simple life while the world goes to hell in a hand basket around me. Can someone tell me the most remote place on the face of this earth short of going to Antarctica? Get me the right climate and I’m on my way! Grow a garden, hunt and barter with my neighbors who needs anything more?

    Eric Schmidt does not need to be the Secretary of Commerce!
    But would probably make a great Director of the CIA.
    The creep factor makes him fit for the job!

    Now if only they could get Osama Bin Laden to plug in somewhere…
    With all the infrastructure they have created they would find him in a New York Minute if he just came into the digital age for a moment. Get on your tin foil hats folks, it’s time!

    Great Article Doug!

  • India

    I had heard about Google voice and I needed a phone number with voicemail. “Get transcribed messages delivered to your inbox.” statement on their home page frightened the hell out of me. Another way to spy on people and archived forever to work against you. I don’t do anything illegal but the most positive written words can be twisted/used against a person in a court of law for anything, divorce, anything. Sadly most of their users don’t have a clue about anything. They can keep their free voice service. I prefer to pay if that’s my only option. Youtube is forcing youtube account holders to open an irrelevant other Google account in order to use youtube. Another way to spy on you and serve you irrelevant junk ads. That’s the company this man headed.