FCC studying whether Google violated Communications Act with WiFi collection practices

The FCC is investigating whether Google's Street View WiFi data collection practices violated the Communications Act after Google revealed it had inadvertently collected private information from WiFi hotspots.

"Last month, Google disclosed that its Street View cars collected passwords, emails and other personal information wirelessly from unsuspecting people across the country," Michele Ellison, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief, said in a statement. "In light of their public disclosure, we can now confirm that the Enforcement Bureau is looking into whether these actions violate the Communications Act. As the agency charged with overseeing the public airwaves, we are committed to ensuring that the consumers affected by this breach of privacy receive a full and fair accounting."

Back in May Google admitted that its Street View cars had collected information from unencrypted WiFi networks. More recently, the company admitted that this information included entire email addresses, web site addresses and passwords.

Google said it has since made changes to its privacy practices, including hiring a director of privacy, stepping up core privacy training and adding new processes to its review system.

Google pledged to work with the FCC. "We want to delete the data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns," the company said in a statement.

For more:
- see this PC Mag article

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