Consumer Watchdog Wades Into ‘SpyFi’ Fiasco

COULD GOOGLE SPY-FI SNIFF OUT LAWMAKERS? Maybe, stresses Consumer Watchdog, a longtime, vocal Google critic. The group plans to make the case at a press conference on Thursday that Google’s Street View team not only intercepted unsuspecting Web users’ data transmitted over unsecured private networks, but is capable of doing the same with lawmakers’ sensitive information as well.

As evidence, Consumer Watchdog says it “sniffed” out wireless networks around the homes of five members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee – albeit without their permission or prior knowledge. And according to the group, “Of the five residences the consumer group checked, one had a clearly identifiable and vulnerable network. The other four residences had vulnerable networks in the vicinity that may belong to the members of Congress.” Consumer Watchdog said it would announce which lawmakers’ houses it “sniffed” at its Thursday presser.

A Google spokesperson reiterated the company was doing its part to correct the situation. “As we’ve said before, it was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal,” the spokesperson said. “We’re continuing to work with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

You know how to reach us: khart@politico.com and tromm@politico.com  via e-mail, or @khart and @tromm over Twitter.

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