In an open letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Simon Davies, director at human rights group Privacy International (PI), has accused Google of conducting a whispering campaign in the media, with the intention of discrediting the organisation with the claim that "Privacy International has a conflict of interest regarding Microsoft".
The letter refers to PI's recently published Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies, in which Google came bottom with a "Hostile to Privacy" designation. Microsoft fared significantly better than Google despite "serious lapses" in its privacy practice.
"You may be aware that Privacy International yesterday published its first privacy ranking of leading companies operating on the Internet," said Davies in his letter. "Google Inc performed very poorly, scoring lowest among the other major companies that we surveyed."
"I am writing to express my concern not just at this unfortunate result, but also at communications between Google Inc and members of the media during the period immediately prior to publication of our report. Two European journalists have independently told us that Google representatives have contacted them with the claim that 'Privacy International has a conflict of interest regarding Microsoft'. I presume this was motivated because Microsoft scored an overall better result than Google in the rankings," he concluded.