Bravo to Google for Supporting M-Lab. But How About a Tool That Also Exposes All Data Collection?

I applaud Google for supporting an academic initiative announced today that provides tools and other services to users so they can measure and test their broadband connection. These tools and effort will permit users to have greater insight into how their ISPs are shaping network traffic–it’s part of the important campaign to ensure network neutrality.  Google has been a leader in this area, and we commend them.

But Google should now use its resources to create a public tool for privacy, so that everyone can be informed about what kind of data is being collected from them–and who is collecting it.  That would mean identifying, for example, what Google collects for itself, for DoubleClick, YouTube, Feedburner and other services.  Of course, the tool would help consumers/citizens know about all data collection, not just via Google.  Beyond a new tool, Google should also support the passage of national privacy protection laws.  Google needs to also be a serious policy leader on privacy.   An open and unfettered connection is just one of the conditions global users require to ensure a democratic online medium.  So is meaningful privacy.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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