How’s this for a little hypocrisy?
Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group and vocal Google critic, has been a promoting a video that lampoons Google’s privacy practices by depicting an animated Eric Schmidt preying on unsuspecting children.
In the video, Eric performs full body scans on the children using a tool called ‘Google Analytics’, the actual name of Google’s web analytics tool.
That’s an odd choice for Consumer Watchdog, whose website, like many others, including our own, collects information on how users browse it using… wait for it… Google Analytics.
Google Analytics works via tracking code placed in a website’s source by the publisher which collects information and sends it to Google, which displays that data to the publisher in useful charts and tables. In other words, Consumer Watchdog collects information about your click-behaviour — certainly something Consumer Watchdog considers private information in other contexts — and sends it to a third-party: Google, just about the least trustworthy third-party on the planet in the group’s estimation.
Apparently someone at Consumer Watchdog realised that there was something off about this, because on Inside Google, the group’s site dedicated to Google-bashing, it doesn’t use Google Analytics. Instead, it tracks readers with Piwik.
And what is Piwik?
Well, that’s a relief.
Of course, we don’t think there is anything nefarious about this. It’s incredibly useful for a website to understand how users are reading it. But some people think sending this sort of data to third-parties without explicit consent is very wicked.
Like, for instance, Consumer Watchdog.