June 13, 2007

Privacy Expert Says Google Needs Ombuds

A well-known privacy expert, Lauren Weinstein, has urged Google to appoint an ombuds to help the company address growing privacy concerns. Weinstein's description could indicate an organizational type ombuds:
The ombudsman would be a non-lawyer who would be assigned full-time to act as an easily approachable and highly available front-line interface between the public and Google operational/R&D teams. This individual would be the primary initial contact for most queries from individuals and organizations who have specific problems related to Google content, privacy, or a range of other related policy matters. This technically knowledgeable individual would be well-versed regarding the relevant issues and ideally already possess a high degree of trust within the larger Internet community.

Such an ombudsman, by fostering open lines of communications, could immediately interact with members of the public and push relevant matters quickly up the chain of command inside Google for action as appropriate.

Despite widespread coverage, Google has not responded to the suggestion. (Lauren Weinstein's Blog; Sci-Tech Today.)

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