Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the House
Privacy Caucus, gave the FCC a shout-out for deciding to investigate
Google over its collection of unsecured Wi-Fi data as part of Google's
Street View mapping effort.
"The Federal Communications Commission is rightly
investigating whether Google's Street View cars steamrolled
privacy laws in pursuit of mapping information," said Markey. "I
commend the Commission for taking action -- the potential
for this technology to be used for drive-by snooping into people's personal lives
is not something to be taken lightly."
The congressman teamed with caucus co-chair Joe
Barton (R-Tex.) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman
Henry Waxman last spring to get answers from Google about the data harvesting
and why it took so long to be disclosed.
"Last month, Google disclosed that its Street View cars collected passwords, e-mails and other personal information wirelessly from unsuspecting people across the country," Michele Ellison chief of the FCC's, Enforcement Bureau said in confirming the investigation. "In light of their public disclosure, we can now confirm that the Enforcement Bureau is looking into whether these actions violate the Communications Act. As the agency charged with overseeing the public airwaves, we are committed to ensuring that the consumers affected by this breach of privacy receive a full and fair accounting."
The Federal Trade Commission has closed its
investigation into the data breech, and the UK's Information Commissioner's
Office (ICO) has told Google to delete Wi-Fi data it collected from its Street
View cars in that country, but will take no punitive action. ICO
is the UK's independent authority for preserving data privacy and information
Google has apologized and pledged to take
corrective action. "The engineering team at Google works hard to earn
your trust-and we are acutely aware that we failed badly here," the
company said in a blog post after the story broke.
"We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all
the lessons we can from our mistake."