Google’s Wi-Spying And Intelligence Ties Prompt Call For Congressional Hearing

Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Google’s Wi-Spying And Intelligence Ties Prompt Call For Congressional Hearing

    SANTA MONICA, CA — Citing new information about Google’s classified government contracts and the Internet giant’s admitted Wi-Spying activity, Consumer Watchdog today said it is more imperative than ever for the Energy and Commerce Committee to conduct hearings into possible privacy violations by Google.

    In a letter to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton, the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group’s John M. Simpson wrote:

    “Based on today’s Washington Post, it appears that Google holds classified U.S. government contracts to supply search and geospatial information to the U.S. government. In addition, White House records show that Google executives have been holding meetings with U.S. national security officials for undisclosed reasons. Finally, it also appears that Google’s widely criticized efforts to collect wireless network data on American citizens were not inadvertent, contrary to the company’s claims.”

    “As history has repeatedly shown, alliances between the U.S. intelligence community and giant corporations that collect data on American citizens can be a toxic combination where the U.S. Constitution is concerned,”  the letter said.

    In a June 9 letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee, Google director for public policy Pablo Chavez asserted that Google “mistakenly included code in our software that collected samples of ‘payload data’ ” from private WiFi networks. But review of a patent application from Google covering the gathering of WiFi data published Jan. 28 shows that the data collection program was a very deliberate effort to assemble as much information as possible about U.S. residential and business WiFi networks.

    The letter continued:

    “… what the patent does show is that Google’s recent claims about how the Street View program was designed are not accurate, and that the company always intended to collect and store the “packets” of wireless data that contain so-called payload information.

    “The patent makes repeated reference to ‘capturing’ packets, including paragraph [0055], which states that the system will enable geolocations so long as the equipment being used ‘is able to capture and properly decode a packet…’

    “This raises serious questions about whether Google has engaged in a reckless effort to amass private data without giving any thought to the possible misuse of that information, and whether it can be trusted to safeguard the information it collects from the prying eyes of the U.S. government.”

    Read the patent here:

    Read the letter here:

    In addition, White House visitor logs show that Alan Davidson, Google’s Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, has had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council since the beginning of last year. One of the meetings, was with White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul, while another was with Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro.

    It has also been widely reported that Google has been working in “partnership” with the National Security Agency, the very same government body that illegally intercepted the private communications of millions of Americans during the Bush administration.


    Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website:

    , , , , , , , , ,

    This post was written by:

    John M. Simpson

    - who has written 414 posts on Inside Google.

    Contact the author

    3 Responses to “Google’s Wi-Spying And Intelligence Ties Prompt Call For Congressional Hearing”

    1. Michael Says:

      You guys are such chuckleheads. Keep in mind these are contracts where work is performed up to the level of “SECRET.” If Google had a black contract (e.g. something that involved intelligence collection) it wouldn’t have been listed. Information about SECRET contracts is readily available; but TOP-SECRET (often with “Special Compartmented Information” or SCI caveats) contract information is far more difficult to access and such contracts wouldn’t be listed in the WaPost article. Did you know NGA has an enterprise agreement with Google for the Google Earth software? DoD uses it for all sorts of applications on classified networks (which Google doesn’t have access to unless they have the proper facility clearances). There are so many vendors who perform work for the U.S. Govt where access to SECRET is required that singling out Google is ridiculous. Imagining a link between Google StreetView and domestic spying is, well, just preposterous.

    2. Samu Says:

      Whatever makes Google suffer, I’m all for it. My business is bankrupt because of them. I won’t use them ever again. I use Yahoo and Bing


    1. Today’s Recommended Reads « Google Monitor - 20. Jul, 2010

      […] Google’s Wi-Spying And Intelligence Ties Prompt Call For Congressional Hearing […]

    Leave a Reply

    fotballdrakter goedkope voetbalshirts kopen basketball trikots basketball trøye NBA basketbal kleding kopen Imitazioni Orologi Rolex Imitazioni Orologi Cartier Imitazioni Orologi Hublot Imitazioni Orologi Tag Heuer Imitazioni Orologi Chopard Imitazioni Orologi Breitling Imitazioni Orologi Patek Philippe Imitazioni Orologi Montblanc Imitazioni Orologi Panerai