The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
Unredacted Findings Released
Unredacted FCC findings appear to contradict Google's claim that it inadvertently intercepted individuals' internet communications in the process of gathering data from Wi-Fi networks across the globe for the firm's “Street View” project.
The Federal Communications Commission's investigation into data-collection missteps connected with Google Inc.'s “Street View” mapping project is getting renewed attention following the release of a mostly unredacted version of the agency's findings in the case.
The recently released unredacted findings appear to contradict Google's claim that it inadvertently intercepted “payload data,” or the content of individuals' internet communications, in the process of gathering information from Wi-Fi networks across the globe for the Street View project.
The document shows that, during preparations for the Street View effort, a Google engineer shared emails with colleagues at the firm revealing that he designed software for the project that was capable of collecting payload data.
The new revelations have prompted Consumer Watchdog, a Washington-based advocacy group, to call for a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, which is chaired by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
“The FCC order shows that substantial questions about the Wi-Spy scandal remain unanswered and that is largely because the engineer responsible for writing the code that gathered payload data invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify,” John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director, said in a letter to Franken, dated April 30.
Simpson urged the subcommittee to offer immunity to the engineer in question in exchange for his testimony. In addition, he said that Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page should be required to explain the corporate culture that allowed the scandal to happen in the first place.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On April 13, the FCC quietly published a heavily redacted “apparent notice of liability” [DA 12-592] that detailed findings of the agency's investigation into the Google Street View debacle.
According to the FCC's notice, Google “deliberately impeded and delayed” the agency's Street View investigation, launched in November 2010, by failing to provide requested documents, resulting in a $25,000 fine. The company's alleged infractions included delaying its production of emails and other communications.
Ultimately, however, the agency said it could find no evidence that Google broke the law when it intercepted payload data as part of the Street View effort.
“There is no clear precedent for applying Section 705(a) of the Communications Act to Wi-Fi communications at issue here,” the FCC said in the notice. “Morever, because Engineer Doe permissibly asserted his constitutional right not to testify, significant factual questions bearing on the application of Section 705(a) to the Street View project cannot be answered on the record of this investigation.”
The Federal Trade Commission dropped an investigation into the matter in October 2010, citing privacy commitments from Google.
The mostly unredacted FCC notice is available at http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/91652398.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)