Mimes send Google's shareholders a message

A group of mimes in track suits weren't exactly silent as they called attention to Google's online tracking practices Thursday.

To dramatize the issue, the group pretended to track Google shareholders who stood in Shoreline Amphitheatre's parking lot on June 21, waiting to get on a shuttle to Google headquarters for the shareholder meeting.

"Who better to influence a company than the shareholders?" said one of the four mimes wearing white track suits, holding magnifying glasses and and wearing "Wi-spy" glasses.

"Tracking people in the real world is stalking. It's creepy," said John M. Simpson, mime and consumer advocate for the non-partisan nonprofit Consumer Watchdog. "When Google and other Internet companies follow your every move online, it's just as creepy, but most people don't realize it's happening. In fact, it's their business model."

As he spoke with shareholders Thursday, Simpson said "The problem is, Google doesn't just track you when you are using Google services." The issue is also with Google's ads, which track people all over the internet, he said.

Simpson said the group was demanding that Google honor a "simple, do not track list" that people could easily sign onto.

Google spokesperson Jim Prosser said the mime group was funded by Google competitor Microsoft.

"They're always following us," Prosser said. As for Google's tracking of Internet users, he said "We put a lot of effort into making sure users are aware of our practices."

"It's important to draw attention to the issue," Simpson said, saying he was a shareholder himself. "The shareholders seem interested in what's going on."

Shareholders had mixed reactions. It took a while for some to realize they were witnessing political theater.

"I'm going to be tracked no matter what, anyway," said a shareholder who called himself Brandon. "I think we're living in a transparent world." He called the do not track list a "band-aid solution. In the long term we're all going to be tracked."

Several Google employees were clearly irritated by the presence of the mimes and a photojournalist was asked to leave after being photographed by a Google employee.

Consumer Watchdog posted live video of the event on its USTREAM channel.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sparty
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

>Several Google employees were clearly irritated by the presence of the mimes

Poor babies. Someone was in the parking lot that everyone else's taxes pay for too.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Freebirds Palo Alto shutters, Pieology to move in
By Elena Kadvany | 14 comments | 3,515 views

A Glimpse into local HS Suicide
By Chandrama Anderson | 13 comments | 2,624 views

Deny the 429 Univ Ave Project Appeal
By Steve Levy | 11 comments | 1,614 views

Now Playing - Your Dinner!
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 980 views

Teens and Cutting, What's Going On?
By Caroline Fleck | 0 comments | 281 views