Google is like Big Brother sometimes. They crawl through all of the sites on the Internet, index pages, documents, and images to make them searchable, and take pictures from space and from their truck on the road for Google Maps and Google Earth images.
And apparently, they're also listening in on your unencrypted WiFi transmissions and getting access to your personal information, bank records, and private messages in the process.
Google's Street View project involves driving equipped cars past households slowly to capture images, along with the Internet communications of the users nearby, without their knowledge. The Internet giant was censured by the FCC for obstructing the latter's investigation into the project. However, the investigation itself has come to a halt after the Google engineer who was in charge of the project cited his Fifth Amendment right and stopped talking.
Google denies knowing anything about the data collection, saying that it was unauthorized. The engineer says otherwise, claiming that other people in the company knew about it. Google was fined a measly $25,000 for obstruction.
The case has brought to light a more serious matter at hand: privacy. And according to privacy advocates, the FCC report was only the beginning.
I appreciate that the FCC sanctioned Google for not cooperating in the investigation, but the much bigger problem is the pervasive and covert surveillance of Internet users that Google undertook over a three-year period.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center
It looks like Google's in hot water over this one. They'll have to come clean about what they're doing in time, though. Let's hope that it's sooner rather than later.
Article by Hazel Chua
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