John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Markey, EPIC Won’t Let Google Wi-Spy Die

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., isn’t satisfied with the Federal Communications Commission’s investigation of Google’s surreptitious collecting of Wi-Fi data from residential networks. Nor is he happy with the slap-on-the-wrist fine the FCC imposed on the company, claiming Google “deliberately impeded and delayed” the agency’s investigation. So he’s calling on Congress for a broader probe into Google’s Wi-Spy debacle.

And he’s not the only one. In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) also called for another investigation, this one by the Department of Justice.

“Given the inadequacy of the FCC’s investigation and the law enforcement responsibilities of the attorney general, EPIC urges the Department of Justice to investigate Google’s collection of Wi-Fi data from residential Wi-Fi networks,” EPIC Executive Director Mark Rotenberg wrote. “By the [FCC’s] own admission, the investigation conducted was inadequate and did not address the applicability of federal wiretap law to Google’s interception of emails, usernames, passwords, browsing histories and other personal information.”

Pointed criticism of the FCC’s investigation into Google’s Street View street-mapping service, both. But some would argue well deserved. One would think that a serious inquiry into the issue would have at least included interviews with the employees involved in the data collection. But according to the FCC, Google decided that making those employees available for questioning “would ‘serve no useful purpose.’”

Perhaps the DOJ could persuade Google to be a bit more cooperative.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald