Google snooped your Wi-Fi, but FCC is more angry about the coverup

Newly posted FCC report dings Google for blaming employee for code that had approval of managers


Google has released the full FCC report into the Google's practice of collecting data on the location, SSID names and, where possible, private data about WLAN owners and guests as its mobile Google Street View photo vehicles cruised and mapped the roads of America.

In releasing the report, Google emulated the venerable White House tactic of releasing bad news on sunny Friday afternoons when few reporters or readers are paying attention.

The April 13 FCC report on Google (slide-show online or downloadable), was posted Saturday.

The FCC released its own version two weeks ago at the same time it announced it fined Google $25,000 for obstructing the FCC investigation by refusing to identify employees involved in discussions about StreetView or producing any emails documenting its testimony to the FCC, according to an FCC order dated April 13.

Google disputed the charge, saying delays in the FCC investigation were due to the agency's dawdling, not Google's refusal to cooperate. It announced it would pay the fine to keep from dragging the case out any further.

Either way, the FCC's heavily redacted report was much less forthcoming than the version Google posted Saturday.

StreetView managers knew about Wi-Fi data snooping

The FCC's version largely blocked out portions that made clear Google was not being entirely honest about the involvement of senior managers in describing how Google StreetView vehicles began collecting personal data including emails, passwords and search histories from unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots the vehicles encountered on their travels.

Google tried to characterize the effort as a private project launched without authorization by an engineer working on StreetView of which Google managers were unaware until shortly before the FCC investigation.

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