Privacy International, a leading UK based privacy consultancy group has decided to discontinue all advisory work it undertakes for private firms following allegations from Google regarding its impartiality and possible conflict of interest.
Taking note of complaints made by Google, Privacy International’s director Simon Davies has explicitly declared that his separate consulting business, 80/20 Thinking will henceforth only restrict itself to technology development and will not tender advice to private companies.
80/20 Thinking was conceptualised by Gus Hosein and Simon Davies in 2007 and since then it has worked many technological firms such as Phorm, AOL and even Microsoft
It is interesting to note that Privacy International has been in the forefront of attempts made by various privacy groups to stall the roll out of Google StreetView in UK.
Quite expectedly Google had reacted sharply by accusing the body and its director Simon Davies with conflict of interest and it spokesman had categorically stated “It's no secret that we believe the credibility of his criticisms is undermined by the fact that alongside his work for Privacy International, he acts as a consultant to a number of technology companies who are direct rivals to, and in some cases vocal critics of, Google.”
Now that Mr. Davies has taken the moral high ground by deciding to stop his consultancy work with private firms, we will have to wait to see if Google tones down its criticism against the privacy group.
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Privacy International has had bad publicity ever since confronting Google over Street View. Splitting off its consultancy arm is too little too late and gives credit to Google's claimed attempts to smear the company. As in politics, if there is any doubts, clear it at once which is not something that Privacy International did from the onset.