Privacy Watchdog Urges FTC to Stop Google’s In-store Tracking

The Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy watchdog organization, has announced that it has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission which urges powerhouse technology company Google (Menlo Park, CA) to halt their consumer tracking of in-store purchases.

EPIC’s complaint asks the FTC to stop Google’s tracking of in-store purchases in order to properly determine whether Google adequately protects the privacy of consumers.

According to EPIC’s website, Google’s practice of collecting of billions of credit/debit card transactions also allow the company to link such personal information to the activities of users of their services. EPIC contends that while Google claims that it takes necessary precautions to protect online privacy of its users, they actively refuse to reveal details of the proprietary algorithm that “de-identifies” consumers while also simultaneously tracking their purchases.

In a 2015 Q3 earnings report, Google touted that the amount of users of their services (such as the Google search engine, Gmail email services, Google Maps navigation, etc.) totals 1 billion. The statistics relating strictly to Google searches total at 3.5 billion queries a day, and 1.2 trillion queries a year.

EPIC’s track record in filing successful complaints to the FTC that have resulted in some kind of action have been notable. The organization’s complaints have resulted in amendments to Facebook‘s privacy preferences, as well as in the launch of Google’s now-defunct social networking platform, Google Buzz.

You can read EPIC’s full FTC complaint by clicking here.

An Investor May Try and Force comScore to Shareholders’ Meeting

comScore’s (Reston, VA) late financial reporting is encouraging a prominent corporate shareholder to try and force the company into calling an annual stockholders’ meeting.

According to The Washington Post, activist hedge fund Starboard Value (New York, NY), which holds about 4.9% of comScore’s stock, filed suit against comScore to force the meeting. In its suit, Starboard alleges that comScore has neglected to hold an annual shareholders’ meeting for two years.

comScore previously stated that its delay in filing financial information was due to an ongoing re-evaluation of “non-monetary revenue.” Repercussions of this situation included delisting by the Nasdaq stock exchange for failure to file regular documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.After comScore’s 2016 merger with Rentrak, comScore attempted to orient itself toward becoming an alternative provider of TV ratings information. It had recent success with Sinclair Broadcast Group (Hunt Valley, MD), which dropped Nielsen and opted to use comScore for discerning its television ratings.

comScore’s absence of official 2016 revenues forced RFL Communications to bypass it in our 2016 RFL Global Top 50 Research Organizations listing. It was #17 on our 2015 list.

The pressure from Starboard Value imposes new financial pressure on comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni, Chairman Joan M. Lewis and CFO David Chemerow.