Google Posts Advertising ‘Spin Document’ Online

Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

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    Yesterday, we reported that Consumer Watchdog had obtained, and provided satiric annotations for,
    a "spin document" that Google had presented as a part of a June 18th
    hearing before Congress. At issue was Google’s practice of "behavioral
    advertising," and the possibility that consumers would be given, as a
    part of government regulation, the opportunity to "opt in" or "opt out"
    of being surveyed by Google’s invasive mining of user browser habits,
    which they use to serve up online advertising.

    At the time, I remarked that "’Confidential’ ‘spin documents’ on
    transparency and privacy are awesome monuments to irony." But hey!
    Google has now posted those documents online themselves, fresh for your consumption today! But, there’s a tiny little twist: They’ve deleted the words "GOOGLE CONFIDENTIAL."

    Here is the original cover page:

    And here’s what’s been made available for public consumption:

    Well, it’s a good nod to almost-transparency, anyway. But just so
    you remember: They’d have preferred you not see these materials at all!
    And Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court remains concerned:

    Google is becoming more Orwellian every day in order to
    perpetuate the myth they are an open and transparent company. In this
    case, they are rewriting history by only putting the presentation
    forward after the exposure, failing to mention the impetus and altering
    the documents in the process to eliminate the "confidential" and
    "proprietary" tag. It’s hard to trust a company with our most sensitive
    data when they go to such lengths to twist the truth. Google owes us an
    explanation of who met on capitol hill with whom, and whether or not
    they were registered lobbyists.


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