Google acted correctly in ending self-censorship of its Chinese search engine,
Google.cn, but the cyber attacks that prompted the decision demonstrate the
company must give American consumers better security and privacy controls,
Consumer Watchdog said today.
"Google should never have agreed to censor itself as the price for admission
to the Chinese market; it’s good they have reversed themselves. It sends a
strong message to China about an open Internet,"
said John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with the
nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer group. "But the most important takeaway from the
incident is how vulnerable our data is on Google’s cloud. Google must
immediately implement better security and give us more control of our own
Google compiles more information about consumers’ online behavior than any
Internet company and consumers should have the right to control how that
information is used or if it is even gathered, Consumer Watchdog said.
"Google has emphasized speed and efficiency over security and privacy,"
Simpson said. "With so much of our information in Google’s worldwide network of
servers, its time that security and privacy got proper attention from the
To give consumers better control of their information Consumer Watchdog said
– Make SSL encryption through the https protocol the default mode for all
data transferred over the Internet from a consumer’s computer to Google’s
– Give consumers the ability to see what information Google has collected on
them and to delete it.
– Provide an "Anonymize-me" button across all its services that would allow
the consumer not to be tracked.