Google outfoxes U.S. FCC

“In a clear example of overreaching, a few years ago, while collecting WiFi signals for an initiative to offer ‘location based services,’ Google’s software program grabbed digital ephemera (including URLs, entire e-mails and passwords) off computers from inside people’s homes,” Bonnie Goldstein reports for The Washington Post.

“Although Google did not release the data publicly and claims to have never even looked at the payload, the mega-metadata site was this week fined $25,000 by the Federal Communications Commission,” Goldstein reports. “The fine is for obstructing the regulatory agency’s investigation of the activity, not for the unauthorized snooping. Although it would be a small pittance to pay the rather stark privacy intrusion on unsuspecting citizens gathered door to door, the cyber company was given a pass on that. It seems the oversight authorization conferred by the Communications Act of 1934 is a bit antiquated when it comes to privacy enforcement.”

Goldstein reports, “In the WiFi case before the FCC, Google has shown equal equanimity and tact. Google’s lawyers claim the overreaching bonus data was collected accidentally and they have corrected their methods. But the unnamed engineer who designed the software, is protecting his own privacy. He has refused to talk to FCC investigators based on concern he could incriminate himself. Not to mention his corporate culture.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Google Street View cars grabbed locations of cellphones, computers – July 26, 2011
Glenn Beck: Be wary of Google, they way they think is creepy (with video) – February 17, 2011
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: If you don’t like being in Google Street View then ‘just move’ – October 28, 2010
Consumer Watchdog ads mock Google CEO Eric Schmidt (with video) – September 2, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: Change your name to escape ‘cyber past’ – August 18, 2010
Wired: Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010
37 states join probe into Google’s questionable Wi-Fi data collection – July 22, 2010
Google Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords and email – June 18, 2010


  1. Obama for sale to highest bidder:

    • Google’s close ties with the Obama White House have raised concerns about possible special treatment or conflicts of interest at the Department of Homeland Security, the US Patent & Trademark Office, the Federal Communications Commission and NASA.

    • Officials at both DHS and the FCC have raised pointed concerns about weak privacy protections in Google products and whether Google’s well-documented difficulties with privacy protection could create big problems for federal agencies that use its services. Nonetheless no-bid contracts have been given to Google.

    • A secretive relationship with the National Security Agency. The search giant has a legitimate need to cooperate with the government’s mammoth and secretive code breaking agency in its efforts to defend the integrity of US computer networks. But NSA also has legal power to force Google to hand over the private information of its users. How Google executives handle this potentially conflicted relationship is largely unknown: neither Google nor the NSA are talking.

    Read more here.

    Top Five Contributors to Barack Obama (2008 election cycle):

    University of California – $1,648,685
    Goldman Sachs – $1,013,091
    Harvard University – $878,164
    Microsoft Corp. – $852,167
    Google Inc. – $814,540

    Full list here.

      1. Here, let me fix that for you:

        The Obama administration’s record on pretty much everything from deficits to health care to unemployment to energy policy has been disappointing to say the least.

        1. Yeh, no kiddin’. Things were SO much better under Bush. And actually, my personal preference – the days of a century ago, when none of these namby-pamby liberal, commie, progressives could get in the way of my granddad’s factories. Those were the days! Kids working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Workers getting their hands lopped off in the machines without any commie unions or commie healthcare or commie OSHA interfering.

          I really think the record of the ultra-rich speaks for itself. They clearly care about others and truly manifest their conservative Christian values in making things better for everyone.

          What’s that you say? — When Christ said, “Love one-another”, he actually meant, “It’s everyone for themselves; those who are at the top are there because they deserve to be, and everyone at the bottom is a lazy loser who could do better if they wanted to.” Ah, OK. I see.

            1. One persons fact is another persons pile of steaming crap. I guess that is what I would say to your comments below. We’ve all heard it before. No need to trash the black guy some more.

              The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing you have one. That’s the hardest part.

              Keep trying though. It’s not as if you spew anything original.

            2. Again, MSM pawn, these are facts:

              • Obama spent more in three years than Bush did in eight
              • The Rich Got Richer Under Obama and Clinton

              It’s your problem that you can’t even begin to deal with them, not mine.

          1. FREE KITTENS

            A pretty little girl named Suzy was standing on the sidewalk in front of her home.
            Next to her was a basket containing a number of tiny creatures; in her hand was a sign announcing FREE KITTENS.

            Suddenly a line of big black cars pulled up beside her.
            Out of the lead car stepped a tall, grinning man.

            “Hi there little girl, I’m President Obama.
            What do you have in the basket?” he asked.

            “Kittens,” little Suzy said.

            “How old are they?” asked Obama.

            Suzy replied, “They’re so young, their eyes aren’t even open yet.”

            “And what kind of kittens are they?”

            “Democrats,” answered Suzy with a smile.

            Obama was delighted. As soon as he returned to his car, he called his PR chief and told him about the little girl and the kittens.

            Recognizing the perfect photo op, the two men agreed that the president should return the next day;
            and in front of the assembled media, have the girl talk about her discerning kittens.

            So the next day, Suzy was again standing on the sidewalk with her basket of “FREE KITTENS,” when another motorcade pulled up,
            this time followed by vans from ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN.

            Cameras and audio equipment were quickly set up, then Obama got out of his limo and walked over to little Suzy.

            “Hello, again,” he said, “I’d love it if you would tell all my friends out there what kind of kittens you’re giving away.”

            “Yes sir,” Suzy said. “They’re Republicans.”

            Taken by surprise, the president stammered, “But…but…yesterday, you told me they were DEMOCRATS.”

            Little Suzy smiled and said, “I know.

            But today, they have their eyes open.”

          2. Seriously Seamus, why do you have resurrect 100 year old history in this context. No one is arguing to go back to 14-hour workdays for kids. The question is when is enough enough. How many of hundreds of overlapping bureaus of evermore granular oversight and control do we need emanating from the Federal Gov? I don’t care whether a department or project is a pet of Repub or Dem, the Fed is voracious consumer and needs a serious reduction in size. The President, for his part, keeps layering on even more unelected regulators that control more and more of our actions and freedoms. And the DOJ is as guilty for what it doesn’t prosecute as much as for what it does. I’d be fine with repealing every law and governmental department created in the past 40 years, and re-evaluate every one before re-establishing it.

            1. Spark,

              He doesn’t care what you have to say. You make so much sense that it makes it that much more confusing for SeeAss. Don’t waste your energy trying to change a Lemming’s mind. It’s pre-programmed on Zombie autopilot!

            2. “Seriously Seamus, why do you have resurrect 100 year old history in this context.”
              Because it’s a great illustration of what happens when regulations are not in place to control pathological greed and callousness towards others. Because most conservative or right-wing opinion given here is of a particular brainless and vitriolic variety which boils down to, “Democrats = shit, Republicans = All goodness and light”.

              “I don’t care whether a department or project is a pet of Repub or Dem,”
              And there you distinguish yourself, quite dramatically, from many others.
              Partisan politics is plain bull. Trotting out the party bibles will never solve the mess, no matter what party is doing the trotting. What are the problems? What are REAL solutions?

          3. Yes the Chinese factory workers are really grateful that you LibTARDS ruined their overtime gig. You Liberals are SCUM!!!!!

            What has made things better for everyone is CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM YOU IDIOTS!!!!


          4. Obama spent more in three years than Bush did in eight

            The U.S. national debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two full terms of the Bush presidency (8 years). It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since Obama took office (3 years and 2 months).

            Source: CBS News, March 19, 2012

          5. The Rich Got Richer Under Obama and Clinton

            it turns out that the rich actually got poorer under President Bush, and the income gap has been climbing under Obama. What’s more, the biggest increase in income inequality over the past three decades took place when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House.

            Read it and learn something for a “change,” MSM pawns:

            Source: Investors Business Daily

            1. You fail to mention that it is the Republican lead congress that does everything it can to counteract the progressive nature of the president to help this country.

              You fail to mention the problem of the rich using loopholes to pay far less taxes than the average American and how the Republicans won’t vote to fix it.

              You fail to mention how the Republicans are dissolving the ability of Americans to vote. Study Michigan, for example.

              You fail to mention that the Republicans impose more government control than Democrats and that leading the fight for privatization of everything means only the rich and those who can afford it benefit.

              You fail to acknowledge that this mess with the economy was a result of many bad business practices by the rich and greedy corporate sector which is embedded in the Republican party, Enron come to mind?

              You fail to recognize Obama as a president and instead replace your respect with words of anger and bias. You spend unknown amounts of time looking to bash him and I consider you to be less of an American for not respecting the man as a president, who cares about this country.

              You fail to see yourself as a place where the republican party shoves their propaganda stick way up your rear because you really don’t bring anything to the table that would hold water.

              Sorry but in this regard, You fail.

            2. The Republicans control 1/3rd of the executive/legislative branches of the U.S. Gov’t (Thank God, or we’d have several more Obamacare fiascos to clean up during the Romney administration). The Democrats control 2/3rds after controlling the whole mess for the first two years of clueless hell.

              In other words: The Democrats own the putrid economy. You can’t have it both ways. The statue of limitations for blaming others — this empty-suit neophyte president’s ever-present and pitiful crutch — ran out years ago.

              Privatize Social Security or just get rid of it. Today’s young workers won’t see a penny anyway, thanks to Obama’s out-of-control reckless spending on pretty much nothing.

              Social Security is the worst ponzi scheme ever devised. A typical liberal failed idea.

              Government is not your mommy.

        2. Wish we could go back to the good old days when Bush launched two illegal wars based on a lie, murdered thousands of innocent civilians, authorized torture, trashed the Constitution, sold Iraq to Halliburton, created the greatest world-wide depression since 1929 and turned the Clinton surpluss into the greatest deficit in history. Glory days!

          1. Yeah like when Obama attacked LIbya and said Afghanistan was his war. Whatever you jack ass!

            You liberals are completely sick. You trample on the constitution every minute of the day. You hate it when it impedes you and then reference it when it can help you. You are aholes. You’re like the terminator that keeps going on it’s mission like the Brain Dead Lemmings that you are. Nothing will stop your march towards Communism and Liberal hell for the world.

            We conservatives are up to the fight and will vote your PARASITE ASSES OUT THIS NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!!

            1. 1. Patriot Act – Tramples ALL over the constitution. Thanks GW Bush ! It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Warrantless wiretaps, privacy invasions, TSA molestation, torture, and on and on.

              2. Hey no more big government types: Stay out of woman’s affairs and stop trying to CONTROL their ovaries. STOP the failed policy of drug testing public aid applicants, it is proven that less than 1% of aid recipients fail. It is COSTING your states MORE money. GOVERNMENT BIG BROTHER intrusion is what it is. If we need to test those that take public money, the first targets that come to my mind are POLITICIANS and their staff.

              3. Attention MSM conspiracy nuts, take off the tin foil. Overturn citizens united. Take back our elections from big corporations. Introduce a constitutional amendment that says corporations ARE NOT people.

              You see we aren’t even having the right conversation. Two party politics in 2012 are a sham. Both parties pander to extremes, then come right back and do what their campaign donor masters tell them to do and pass whatever Alec authored BS is going to make their donors money and screw the people from their money.

              You need to open your eyes, and realize that your partisan ranting is part of the problem and not likely to solve anything. You are lemmings, you are manipulated and used.

              FYI – to any real progressive – Obama is corporate owned, conservative. His policies prove it. Anyone with a little honesty and half a brain would also recognize that ObamaCare is nothing more than a tweaked, renamed version of RomneyCare. Ask Massachusetts..

            2. @ False Upside Your Ass,

              Maobama has vastly expanded on the Patriot Act that was done in response to thousand of US citizens being killed by terrorist. No one likes it but Maobama sure does.

              MSM is pure Commie Propaganda!!!!!

      2. Actually the biggest disappointment with Obama is the failure to prosecute the criminals from the previous administration who started all of the torture and invasion of privacy. Before Bush the 2nd we’ve never had a former president who didn’t dare to leave the country for fear of arrest. Too bad we failed to clean up our own mess.

    1. Nice – The University of California – which our kids pay to go to keep increasing tuition and they can contribute that much money – they should be sued as well.

    2. What? You want more Gov’t oversight and regulation, F10T12? I thought that capitalism took care of all of that.

      Naturally Bush did a much better job of strengthening those “weak privacy protections.” It well-documented that people tend to filter data to fit their beliefs and toss out the rest. The fact that you believe that everything was better under different President’s just proves that you hold an extremist viewpoint that will never budge to fact or reason (as if we needed any more proof).

      You may not have noticed that I (and many others) are comfortable with admitting the faults of the current administration and giving some credit when it is due. Understanding that I have my own set of biases, I do my best to extend that same approach to other politicians and former Presidents even when their general platform conflicts with my preferences in a number of areas. I deal in reality to the best of my ability. You deal in extremist fantasy and warp everything to support your narrow view of things. So be it. You will not change and I cannot force you to do so. But I reserve the right to verbally nail you to the wall when you go off the deep end, even though it probably isn’t worth the effort. The only possible benefit that I can see is that it may help stop you from contaminating others with your self-serving bile.

      F10T12, it would be interesting (from an academic standpoint only) to meet you in person, and to attach a face to your extremist rhetoric. My mental picture of you is a mashup of Steve Doocy, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. I would have included Archie Bunker, but I like him too much.

        1. Bush? You idiots are still talking about Bush? What the hell is wrong with you BRAIN DEAD LEMMINGS!!!!!!!!!!????????????

          Debt Added By The Previous 43 U. S. Presidents Combined

          1789 through 2008 = $6.3 Trillion

          Debt Added By Dear Leader Maobama In Less Than One Term!

          $6.5 Trillion

          An old West Virginia Hillbilly saying:
          You cannot get the water to clear up,
          until you get the pigs out of the creek.

          1. What you don’t realize is that shit does not diffuse instantly. The shit the previous pig did us just about diffusing through the creek and showing up now. The present pig got very little to do with the previous pigs shit. Of course you repubdicks know that already. We know your gig… goes like this……do the shit……smear the next democrat with it……get re-elected. Fuck you assholes that have caused so much damage to the USA, all because of your fucked up “me first” politics.

            1. Your diatribe does nothing to address the facts, and you are also exercising quite a bit of projection. The President took office with a Democrat controlled House and Senate. The huge spending that Muddy Waters notes is on his watch, no one else’s. The still-Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass a Federal budget in more than two years. It’s disgraceful. And you are also confused about “me first” politics. Yes, we Conservatives are Me-First as in the Citizen is at the top of the pyramid in this country, not the Federal Government. Don’t mistake attempts to stop power grabs by the Feds as lack of care about our fellow citizens. We just like to do our giving personally, closer to home; in our towns and communities where we can see the fruition of our time and money.

  2. They get away with it again. Literally getting away with murder. No wonder these Google heads and culture acts as if they own the universe and are entitled to worship. Google – SUCKS!

    1. Seriously, you have no idea how much this pisses me off…

      A google Spy car came down my street, STOLE my personal information, and NOTHING happens.

      F**K Google! I hope Larry page goes to hell and burns! And I hope apple CRUSHES google. Apple respects our privacy!

      1. Actually it would not matter who is in office or congress and the senate when it comes to collecting data on US citizens, both parties have done plenty and will do plenty more in the future to monitor the masses and ‘protect’ their idea of america.

        Sad but true!

  3. I find it so entertaining to read your political rants. So much passion mixed with personal opinion and misinformation. Only a few users used facts about congressional control. I have a degree in political science, try doing real research and not just reading what others researched. Opinions are like a**holes, remember that saying. Just take a deep breath. It will all be okay. Bush wasn’t the end of the world, neither was Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Kennedy, Pierce, Buchanaan, or Obama. Try reading what people and politicians said about Lincoln before he was elected, and during his presidency. Now he is one of our most celebrated leaders. It called perspective and hindsight. So relax.

  4. Whenever I see 50 comments I know there is some political crap going on. Face it – America blows no matter who is leading the charge. The fact that Santorum actually got as close as he did is indicative of what a sorry state the USA is in. Most powerful nation in the world, yes, but also the dumbest and the least desirable developed country to live in, having briefly done so myself.

      1. One side presents a lot of facts and thoughts, held together by logic with an occasional barb or dash of sarcasm.

        The other seems overwhelming represented (with a couple of notable exceptions) by frothing thoughtlessness, name-calling, lack of facts and veritable tornadoes of vitriol and hatred.

        The idea of people like you, so-called “True American” having substantial power is horrifying.

  5. Is anyone else getting tired of reading ever increasingly narrow columns of US political diatribe?

    You’d have thought MDN would start filtering out this kinda crap. Either that or allow the reader to disclose threads that have absolutely no relavence to the main thread.

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