Connecticut AG’s Wi-Spy Deal With Google Shows Need for Congressional Hearings, Consumer Watchdog Says

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Connecticut AG’s Wi-Spy Deal With Google Shows Need for Congressional Hearings, Consumer Watchdog Says

    SANTA MONICA, CA — Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen’s deal with Google announced today makes it clear that Congressional hearings will be necessary if the American public is to understand fully what happened in the Wi-Spy scandal, Consumer Watchdog said.

    Google agreed to admit its Street View cars had collected private user information including URLs of requested Web pages, partial or complete email communications or other information, but won’t give the AG what it collected. The stipulation will avoid going to court as settlement negotiations continue, Jepsen said. He is coordinating a 40-state probe into the Wi-Spy incident.

    “The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn’t be settled in secret,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project. “This makes it clear why Google CEO Eric Schmidt needs to testify under oath before Congress about Wi-Spy.”

    Consumer Watchdog this weekend released a satirical video to underscore the need for Congressional hearings.  It is available on the Internet and is being displayed on a digital ad truck in Washington, DC this weekend.

    View the video here:

    Google also faces a class action suit over Wi-Spy in U.S. District Court in San Jose, CA.

    Consumer Watchdog seeks to have Schmidt answer questions such as:

    • Why did Google gather data from the Wi-Fi networks?
    • What plans were there to use the data?
    • Who authorized the project and supervised it?
    • Who at Google has used, analyzed or otherwise accessed payload data and for what purpose?
    • If the data was collected “by accident,” why did Google seek a patent on the process that was used to gather the data?
    • How can Google assure us this won’t happen again?
    • How many Americans’ private information was collected by Google?
    • What kind of information was collected? Emails, passwords, financial information, medical data, searches, videos? What else?

    Consumer Watchdog has been working to protect consumers’ online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project. The goal has been to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their online lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies could become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector.

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    Consumer Watchdog, 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:

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