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Privacy watchdogs call for new Google probe

Privacy watchdogs call for new Google probeClose on the heels of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Friday statement that it intends a $25,000 penalty on Google for hindering its investigation of the company’s Street View service, privacy watchdogs have urged U. S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to launch a new probe into Google.

Terming the FCC investigation – which failed to find any evidence to prove that Google broke eavesdropping regulations in collecting Internet data from millions of unsuspecting US households – as insufficient, Washington-based advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said in a Monday letter to the Attorney General that Google’s controversial data-collection practices should be re-investigated.

According to the privacy advocates, the proposed $25,000 fine by the FCC was quite negligible for a bigwig company like Google which had approximately $38 billion in revenue last year; and is facing the accusations of snooping on users’ personal information as well as stonewalling investigators.

In the letter, EPIC's Executive Director Marc Rotenberg drew attention to the fact that the FCC had itself acknowledged that the probe which it conducted was “inadequate” as it did not address the prospect of whether federal wiretapping law would be Google's interception of emails, user names, passwords, browsing histories and other personal data.

Requesting the Attorney General to initiate a new Google investigation, Rotenberg said: "Given the inadequacy of the FCC's investigation and the law enforcement responsibilities of the attorney general, EPIC urges you to investigate Google's collection of personal Wi-Fi data from residential networks.”