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Satirical video mocking Google CEO hits Times Square

Video takes a swipe at the company's attitude towards privacy.

US-based consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has aired a satirical video cartoon featuring Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, at New York's Times Square on Thursday.

The video was aimed at creating public awareness about privacy rights, the organisation's president Jamie Court said.

The 15-second clip, displayed as an advertisement at the commercial intersection, mocks Schmidt's comments on privacy. It includes his quote, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

The cartoon shows Schmidt going around a residential neighbourhood in an ice cream truck, spying on children and disclosing the browsing habits of their parents to them. It was from a video clip posted online at, a website run by the consumer organisation.

"We like ice cream as much as anyone, but we like privacy even more," Google said in response to the video.

The search company said it provides tools such as Google Dashboard, Ads Preference Manager, Chrome incognito mode and "off the record" Gmail chat, for users to control their privacy online.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.