Nov 11, 2010
The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday it is investigating a data breach by Google, whose Street View mapping cars scooped up e-mail addresses and passwords from unencrypted residential Wi-Fi networks.
“Last month, Google disclosed that its Street View cars collected passwords, e-mails and other personal information wirelessly from unsuspecting people across the country,” said Michele Ellison, the FCC’s enforcement bureau chief. “In light of their public disclosure, we can now confirm that the Enforcement Bureau is looking into whether these actions violate the Communications Act.”
She said the investigation was intended to ensure consumers affected “receive a full and fair accounting.”
The FCC wouldn’t describe details of its investigation, first reported by The Wall Street Journal. But communications law experts said the investigation likely focuses on a federal law that prohibits the unauthorized publication or use of messages that are intercepted over radio networks. The investigation comes weeks after the Federal Trade Commission closed its own investigation into Google’s Street View privacy lapse.