FCC Chair Genachowski Stonewalls Rep. Graves on Status of Google ‘Wi-Spy’ Investigation



Washington, D.C. – Today, during a hearing held by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-9) questioned Federal Communications Commission [FCC] Chairman Julius Genachowski about the status of the FCC’s investigation into Google’s “Street View” program, and whether Google’s mapping process eavesdropped on unsuspecting Americans. Congressman Graves issued the following statement about the exchange:

“Nearly five months after the FCC announced its investigation into Google for potential violations of privacy, I was deeply disappointed that Chairman Genachowski did not provide any insight into the status of the Street View case for the many Americans who had their private information captured. The public deserves, as the FCC said in November, a ‘full and fair accounting’ of the 600 gigabytes in private data that was lifted from an untold number of personal computers.

“Imagine the outrage and the consequences if government trucks roamed our neighborhoods and gathered personal information. The fact is, a private company did exactly that, and the American people deserve reassurance that the FCC will not soft shoe around such a massive breach of privacy. I urged Chairman Genachowski to move swiftly so the FCC can finally present their findings to Congress with recommendations on how to prevent eavesdropping by any entity that roams our streets and neighborhoods.”

In May 2010, Google admitted their Street View cars had gathered private information from unencrypted WiFi networks for years.

In October 2010, Google admitted data collected by their Street View cars contained emails, URLs, and passwords.

In November 2010, the FCC announced it was investigating Google to see if the Street View program violated any laws.

On March 22, 2011, France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties fined Google $142,000 for violating privacy laws with its Street View program.