The top US consumer protection agency has dropped an inquiry into data collection breaches by Google, even as regulators in Europe and Canada have stepped up their scrutiny of the internet giant’s privacy policies.
David Vladeck, the director of the bureau of consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission, said the FTC had decided to drop its investigation into Google’s allegedly inadvertent collection of consumer data in 2007 because it was satisfied that Google had adequately addressed the issue internally.
The FTC decision marks the end of at least one major probe into the most damaging privacy breach to hit the company to date. But the company is still facing ongoing investigations by individual state attorneys general in the US, and regulators in Spain and Canada both last week concluded that Google had broken local laws while investigations are underway in other countries.
Google admitted for the first time last week that the cars it had used to photograph residential streets for its Street View mapping service had illicitly collected some personal e-mails and passwords from the homes it passed. The breach was first announced in May.
At that time, however, the company said it had only collected “fragments” of information. Mr Vladeck said the revelation had caused “concern” among FTC staff because Google had only discovered the 2007 breach in response to a request from data protection authorities in Germany.
But in a letter to a Google attorney posted on the commission’s website, Mr Vladeck said Google’s decision to improve its internal processes to address the FTC’s concerns, including the appointment of a new director of privacy for engineering, gave staff enough assurances that the company had addressed the issue. FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz declined to comment on the decision.
“Google has made assurances to the FTC that the company has not used and will not use any of the payload data collected in any Google product or service, now or in the future,” Mr Vladeck said. “The assurance is critical to mitigate the potential harm to consumers from the collection of payload data.”
Assurance? Bullshit. I wouldn’t trust the likes of Google under any circumstances.
This is the same company who’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, said this:
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
…..Like living in your own home in your own neighborhood.
“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
I want Schmidt to go fuck himself.
By the way, the same leftwing pundits and ‘activists’ who had grand mal seizures over the NSA’s legitimate wiretapping of Islamic terrorists, don’t have squat to say about Google’s Big Brother invasion of privacy.
Given the makeup of the FTC, it’s not surprising Google got off easy.
Jon Leibowitz, Chairman
Jon Leibowitz was designated to serve as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission on March 2, 2009, by President Barack H. Obama. Leibowitz was previously sworn in as a Commissioner in September 3, 2004, following his nomination by the President and confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
In joining the Commission, Leibowitz resumed a long career of public service. He was the Democratic chief counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Antitrust Subcommittee from 1997 to 2000, where he focused on competition policy and telecommunications matters. He served as chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Technology from 1995 to 1996 and the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice from 1991 to 1994. In addition, he served as chief counsel to Senator Herb Kohl from 1989 to 2000. Leibowitz worked for Senator Paul Simon from 1986 to 1987. In the private sector, Leibowitz served most recently as vice president for congressional affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America – from 2000 to 2004 – and worked as an attorney in private practice in Washington from 1984 to 1986.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in American History (1980), Leibowitz graduated from the New York University School of Law in 1984. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and has co-authored amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court on issues ranging from gun control to the census.
It’s a safe bet those amicus briefs were anti-2nd Amendment, and pro-illegal alien.
I realize the head of the FTC is a leftwing B. Hussein Obama appointee, but somehow I don’t think he’d be pleased if Eric Schmidt’s little spy group collected his emails and passwords while photographing his house.
Hopefully with the upcoming mid-term and 2012 elections, we’ll get a better selection of representatives in Congress and the White House who will get rid of sycophants like Leibowitz and actually investigate the criminal activities of companies like Google.