SCP Thanks Attorneys General for Looking into Google's New Privacy Policies

Dear Attorneys General:

As the President of Stop Child Predators (SCP), an advocacy, education and outreach organization based in Washington, DC, I am writing to express our organization's thanks and support for your letter of February 22, 2012, to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page concerning Google's new privacy policy.

We deeply share your concern about Google's plan to collect and collate personal information from across its services without user—or, in the case of minors, parental—consent. As we understand, this data could be used in a number of ways, including providing highly targeted data to customers that could enable the identification of children at risk.

Google itself has a history of privacy and security lapses, which makes its unauthorized stewardship of personal data particularly alarming. In addition, if Google sells or leases data about individuals, including children, this increases the likelihood of a data breach. As you may know, many child predators are highly adept at using technology and would be certain to avail themselves of rogue data about children and families.

Your letter also rightly notes the threat to privacy posed by Android-powered smartphones. Young people, particularly teens and tweens, commonly use mobile phones. While mobile phones provide security on the one hand, data tracking and even identity theft pose risks on the other. As a dominant operating system and search provider in the smartphone market, Google should be a leader on privacy protection, not privacy exploitation.

I would also like to draw your attention to recent news (first reported in the Wall Street Journal) that Google was circumventing the privacy policies and functionality of other technologies, notably Apple's Safari Web browser. In addition, last year, Google paid $500 million to settle an investigation about its participation in promoting illegal pharmaceutical sales, which put the public health at risk.

Google's repeatedly dismissive approach to following consumer privacy and protection laws clearly warrants inquiry—and potentially action—by state and federal authorities. Stop Child Predators looks forward to your continued pursuit of this matter. Thank you.

Stacie Rumenap