Google wants to crush watchdogs


googlesucks_small.jpgADOTAS — You would think Google has better things to do than to whine about consumer groups whining about privacy issues, but I guess that’s why its the biggest gorilla on the block.

Bob Boorstin, director of Google’s corporate and policy communications, recently complained to the Rose Foundation, which funds Consumer Watchdog, that the group was unfair when it accused Google of trying to obtain permission to sell patient medical records among other issues.

“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,” Boorstin said in an email to Rose Foundation Executive Director Tim Little. Boorstin also wanted to write the board.

Little said the foundation would welcome the feedback but won’t interfere with the group’s work, because the foundation “believes that Consumer Watchdog is raising very fundamental questions about privacy over the Internet.”

Boorstin later issued a statement that while the company regularly engages with groups, it felt Consumer Watchdog was after the media attention rather than serious privacy concerns. But Boorstin said he shouldn’t have contacted the foundation and he apologized. “Google supports the right of anyone or any institution to fund whatever group or project they choose,” he added.

This is a communications head? Maybe he has been out of the loop for awhile. At least he apologized.

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