FCC: Google staff knew Street View cars were stealing private data
By End the Lie
Recently, I reported on the choice made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clear Google of wrongdoing in connection to their interception of the private data belonging to Americans over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, and the measly $25,000 fine given to them.
This is just one of the many ways Big Brother Google has invaded our privacy and continues to do so on a daily basis. If you’d like to know how to take steps to block these methods read this guide and this guide as well.
Keep in mind, their egregious privacy breaches are only going to get worse as their new technology is implemented and they bring on the head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and thus further emphasize their connections to government and the intelligence community.
The $25,000 fine was only because “For many months, Google deliberately impeded and delayed the [FCC’s Enforcement] Bureau investigation by failing to respond to requests for material information and to provide certifications and verifications of its responses.”
Now it has emerged (see the document embedded below) that the FCC knew that Google was actually well aware of what their Street View cars were doing.
The unnamed engineer behind the collection of information from wireless networks told a senior manager and at least one other colleague about the plans before it was released.
The Google engineer told two colleagues that his Street View software could actually collect “entire emails and URLs … as well as passwords.”
Furthermore, Google “provided evidence to the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) showing that the data collected resulted from a deliberate software-design decision by one of the Google employees working on the Street View project.”
So much for the “fragmented data” they claimed they collected and their original statement, “Quite simply, it was a mistake.” In fact, the newly released document indicates that their early claim was the exact opposite of the truth.
Indeed the FCC report indicates that five engineers were involved in implementing the code, but they were allegedly unaware of the fact that it could capture private data.
However, I consider this case quite dubious as the engineer explicitly told this to two colleagues in 2007 and in 2008.
Even more ludicrous is the fact that the anonymous engineer, referred to as “Engineer Doe,” recommended that Google’s privacy lawyers review the program in October of 2006; a recommendation which they ignored.
“For more than two years, Google’s Street View cars collected names, addresses, telephone numbers, URLs, passwords, email, text messages, medical records, video and audio files, and other information from internet users in the United States,” said the report.
Are we really to believe that somehow all of the statements from the engineer to his colleagues and all of the data being collected were somehow completely overlooked for over two years?
Personally, I find such an assertion outright absurd. Yet, the document says that “The record also shows that Google’s supervision of the Wi-Fi data collection project was minimal … indeed, it appears that no one at the company carefully reviewed the substance of Engineer Doe’s software code or the design document.”
The problem here is that they say “appears,” something which cannot be proven or substantiated in the slightest. How would no one review the design after he specifically told people what it was capable of?
One would assume that they would address such problems, that is if they cared about privacy at all. There is the possibility that they indeed were well aware of the capabilities and let it proceed anyway.
In the end, the FCC somehow determined that Google did not break any laws in stealing private information from Americans, a decision which is hardly surprising given the connections that Google enjoys.
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