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Call For DOJ To Reopen Google Wi-Fi Spying Investigation 82

Posted by timothy
from the we-were-just-in-the-neighborhood dept.
angry tapir writes "Two U.S. lawmakers have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into Google's snooping on Wi-Fi networks in 2010 after recent questions about the company's level of cooperation with federal inquiries. Representatives Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, and John Barrow, a Georgia Democrat, called on the DOJ to fully investigate Google's actions for potential violations of federal wiretapping laws. In light of a recently released U.S. Federal Communications Commission report on Wi-Fi snooping by Google Street View cars, the DOJ should take a new look at the company's actions, wrote the lawmakers in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder."
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Call For DOJ To Reopen Google Wi-Fi Spying Investigation

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  • Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:14AM (#40108025) Homepage

    The Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration, commits more heinous violations of life, liberty and property every 6 months than Google has in its entire lifetime so far. Cry me a fucking river over the open wifi connections. Turn your attention to the President who claims the power to assassinate Americans abroad, who continues most of the War on Terror policies and whose Attorney General is such a contemptible scumbag that he sacrificed hundreds of Mexican civilians' lives to influence domestic gun policy (a move so cynical, you almost can't even see the average neocon supporting something like it).

    • by andydread (758754)
      The problem is that the gun running across the border PRE-DATED the current administration. Me thinks you are the one being cynical here no? Please stop with the misinformation. geez.
      • by erroneus (253617)

        He's not actually taking sides. He's showing that the government is the pot calling the kettle black.

        Now what we're seeing here is Google being attacked by various parties... possibly at the behest of fewer parties. We just witnessed Google's $6 billion dollar law suit brought on by Oracle turn into an enormous waste of money and resources granting Oracle nothing but costing it expensive lawyers and a handful of patents which became invalidated after they were used as a weapon against Google. So Oracle l

    • My democratic friends tell me Romney wants to assassinate poor people
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Vote third party.

        I don't even give a rat's ass which one. I don't care what party you WOULD vote for if you voted for the two bigs. How much longer can we keep up this charade that the Democrats and Republicans are genuinely different, and are trying to represent their constituents? Find a third party that more closely resembles your wishes, and vote for it. Fuck Obama. Fuck Romney. Flip sides of the same coin.
      • My democratic friends tell me Romney wants to assassinate poor people

        My Tea Party friends tell me the politically correct form would be "double-butt-inate the financially challenged"... Yep, I'm a bit old to be serving imaginary beverages.

        • by Rasperin (1034758)
          And the Tea Party is just another name for republicans. It started out as a neat idea but then all of the republicans flocked to it and made it the same old party.
    • In the UK we have the Civil Service... I assume the USA has an equivalent body of people who make up the people who actually draft and implement government policy and remain (mostly) the same people regardless of who is in power at the moment... did it never occur to you that these people are the problem they are a huge force of inertia on government policy and the reason that nothing every really changes between administrations ....

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        ... occur to you that these people are the problem they are a huge force of inertia on government policy and the reason that nothing every really changes between administrations ....

        Yes, minister.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        In the UK we have the Civil Service... I assume the USA has an equivalent body of people who make up the people who actually draft and implement government policy and remain (mostly) the same people regardless of who is in power at the moment...

        Nope. Not how it works in the US. Please do a minute of research before assuming silly things like this.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        In the US they call them lobbyists/MPAA/RIAA. You don't think politicians actually write bills in the US, do you? They use templates that are boilerplate or just accept someone else's suggestion in it's entirety.

    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xest (935314) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:54AM (#40108241)

      This is nothing to do with partisan politics anyway.

      It's about how effective Microsoft's lobbying is nowadays.

      Since Ballmer took over lobbying activity has massively increased, whilst growth of new and useful product lines has basically flatlined.

      I've historically been quite supportive of Microsoft here on Slashdot as I like a lot of their products, XBox 360, Visual Studio, SQL Server, Windows Server etc. but I'm so sick and tired of all the anti-Google shilling from Microsoft and Facebook, that when I see something like this I'm more likely to be correct if I assume it's yet another Microsoft lobbying victory, than if I assume it's not.

      See shit like this to understand where I'm coming from:

      http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/02/how-microsoft-pays-big-money-to-smear-google-audaciously/ [falkvinge.net]

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/8184065/Dark-forces-gunning-for-Google.html [telegraph.co.uk]

      It's pretty fucking clear there's a problem, and not only is Microsoft failing to produce new product lines to grow the things people buy from them, they're actively pushing away people like me away, who, as a primarily Windows based developer/architect, is precisely the sort of person they've depended on to maintain the strength of their main product lines within the business world.

      Between the failure of Microsoft in mobile coupled with the increase in importance of mobile, and this sort of shit, they really run the risk of losing everything in the long run. I fucking hate Apple too, but it's getting to the point where my next computer will run iOS, just to make a fucking point of not buying Windows and not funding Microsoft until they grow the fuck up and start focussing on products, rather than what basically amounts to corporate trolling.

      If they spent as much time on producing innovative and cool new stuff as they did corporate trolling, they wouldn't need to worry about corporate trolling in the first place.

      Gates may have been too aggressive against his competition resulting in the anti-trust stuff being brought against him, but at least he didn't engage in this corporate trolling. I wish Ballmer would die of a heart attack and Gates would come back frankly. It's no wonder he was ranked as the worst tech CEO or whatever - because it's absolutely fucking true.

      • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

        by yoshi_mon (172895) on Friday May 25, 2012 @09:28AM (#40108481)

        Thank you. I'm quite sure that there are more corps that are giving money to our bought politicians than just MS but they sure are one of them.

        The problem is Google should have just fessed up fully the 1st time this came up and then at least they could say look, we told you everything and we are sorry!

        Instead they entered risk management too early and tried to cover up things. Well sorry Google you have a lot to learn about that vs the big boys from MS and others. If you want to break the rules you better learn how to fight dirty.

      • by webheaded (997188)
        Apple is guilty of the same douchebaggery as Microsoft while also making somewhat nice (walled garden) products. If you want to support someone...support Google directly and get an Android device. :p
        • by Xest (935314)

          I do have an Android phone, I made a mistake in my original post in saying iOS, I meant MacOSX as I was intending to refer to my desktop/laptop replacements. I do have an iPad already, but that's because my partner won it in a competition. I'm not the biggest fan of it, it just kind of sits there and I've not found any use for it beyond looking up the odd website, but even there I find it more of a pain to navigate the web than if I just go to my desktop and do it from there - same goes with things like typ

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      the attorney general had engraved on each gun specific instructions to kill an american and get a free 20oz slurpee coupon at 7-11 or whatever they have down there
    • a move so cynical, you almost can't even see the average neocon supporting something like it

      Does that explain why conservatives are calling for Holder's head, and why liberals have been running interference for him?

      Turn your attention to the President who claims the power to assassinate Americans abroad

      Killing Americans who are fighting for the other side during armed conflict has precedent at least back to WWII. Unless you surrender, you are fair game for being killed by whatever method we deem appropriate

  • by Xacid (560407) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:17AM (#40108041) Journal

    While they're at it why don't they go after their colleagues for trying to push laws that circumvent current wiretapping laws?

  • Commercial attack. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget (43516) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:18AM (#40108051) Journal

    Nothing to see here, nothing of note was taken, claims it was a seriuous attempt to intrude on anybody are laughable and most journalists writing on this subject are technically illiterate and working to a script.

    A commercially derived attack from paid-for representatives of Googles opposition. If this is the best they can come up with after millions of dollars paid funding groups set up as sockpuppet attack dogs then I'm happy to define Google as safe.

    Yawn.

    (PS: I'm more concerned about why they are kept under such universal pressure from the MIC, presumably it's to force them to allow the Military/Right to snoop on Google's commercial, worryingly broad, data.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      It's the principle of the thing:
      - Google originally said they didn't snoop, in fact they did;
      - Google originally said they didn't know, in fact they did;
      - Google still say they're not evil, in fact...

      • I have no problem with the first three lines of your post, but the fourth is idiotic.

        There are lots of things in this world that are evil. Torture, rape, murder, genocide, biological warfare, terrorism, racism, letting people die of starvation when food is available, letting them die from diseases when treatments and vaccines are available, stripping people of their basic rights... recording unencrypted data that's being broadcast to you as you drive by and doing nothing with it isn't even close to evil.

        • Well.. idiotic might be to miss that the main issue is maybe not only doing it, but also lying repeatedly about it.

          Also, If that's not evil, do you mean it's good ? Or indifferent ?

          • Evil generally involves harming others. Yes, Google tried to cover their ass, but who was harmed by that? Nobody.

            • There's gradients of evil, and stealing credentials does not rank very high, but still, its neither good nor neutral, and the people whose credentials and IDs they stole probably disagree with you.
              Also, it might be argued that evil can also be not about harming others, but about straying from the virtuous path for oneself, which Google undoubtedly did here, in multiple ways and over time.

              • You're focusing on the wrong thing.

                Google didn't steal credentials. They recorded information that was being openly broadcast. If you DVR a TV show and someone on it holds up his credit card and reads out the numbers, you haven't stolen that person's credentials even though you have recorded them. Unless you take that information and do something, you've done nothing wrong.

                The only thing Google did wrong was lying about it and trying to cover their asses. I'm not arguing that lying and covering your ass

                • Your analogy is wrong. Nobody handed their credit card to no one. The correct analogy is that Google used telephoto lenses to take pictures off someone's credit card and PIN, and said it was in plain sight.

                  Also, the contrary of right is not "stupid", it is "wrong". One can be intelligent AND right, intelligent AND wrong, stupid AND right, or stupid AND wrong. The relationship of "right vs wrong" to "good vs evil" is less orthogonal than that. A lot less.

                  • Your analogy is wrong. Anything Google recorded was broadcast to them. They didn't use magical telescopic receivers to record things from a longer distance than they were being sent by the people sending those things. The people whose data was recorded literally sent it to Google either willingly and intentionally or because they were too stupid to realize they were sending that information to Google.

                    I said lying was wrong. I also said Google's lies were stupid because they were. Recording openly broad

      • by blueskies (525815)

        Google say they're not evil, in fact.....in fact what?? why invalidate your entire post with something this idiotic?

        • In fact doing something illegal, knowingly, and lying repeatedly about it IS evil. You need to be an idiot not to get it.

    • by Xest (935314)

      I'm glad to see your post, as yours, and the comments on Groklaw the other day where PJ asked journalists to consider, in light of the verdict, who had given the information to them that led to them writing stories very much in favour of Oracle's position, and very much against Google - i.e. those that always cited Florian Mueller as a "source". It's become my opinion too in recent months, and it's nice to see the corporate shilling backfiring. It's nice to see that the blatant shills with their high UID, n

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Clearly, we have a couple of very concerned congressmen here. Concerned that they didn't receive their payoff checks.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday May 25, 2012 @08:29AM (#40108111)

    The only difference between what Google did and what every other PC in existence does with a WiFi radio in it is store it somewhere other than memory.

    Just like it isn't wiretapping to record someone having a conversation standing on the street, I fail to see how its wiretapping to intercept an unencrypted BROADCAST signal.

    Am I violating wiretapping laws because I use an antenna to pick up ATSC broadcasts? Not really much different other than the TV station is smart enough to realize broadcast intentionally and nobody has bothered to tell most ignorant home users what WiFi actually does or how it works (i.e. the signal doesn't stop at some imaginary boundary or at the walls of your house.

    The fact that it keeps coming up with politicians shows we need to stop electing 90 year old lawyers who don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hate google as much as anybody, and do not use their search engine because of their privacy-invading policies. I also do not run their tracking crap that's all around the internet, and recommend that NO ONE use them for these reasons: they are destroying the last shred of privacy that was left on the internet.

    But the entire PURPOSE of 802.11 used without encryption is to allow random unknown devices to connect, listen, and send. It's designed for that reason. It provides multiple methods for encryption

    • by Mathinker (909784)

      I hate google as much as anybody, and do not use their search engine because of their privacy-invading policies. I also do not run their tracking crap that's all around the internet, and recommend that NO ONE use them for these reasons: they are destroying the last shred of privacy that was left on the internet.

      Let me give you a clue. It is possible to both use Google services and at the same time hide information from Google. And I rather doubt it's less convenient to do that than boycotting Google (and pr

    • by VON-MAN (621853)
      I've got to admit it: the shills are getting better, more subtle, more ambivalent. And AC's of course, nothings is more obvious a shill than a superhigh userid with two posts. But still:you are a shill. I'm sure I'll be insulted in a subtle, nasty way, or not now I've pointed out the obvious.
      Anyway, you fuckers are all over Google stories like flies over shit.
  • I'm going to remember that name this November so that I make sure not to press any boxes next to it.
  • If they're so interested in pursuing this, then they should personally finance it, instead of wasting more tax revenue on another insignificant investigation.
  • Why can't lawmakers spend a little time on the real source of the problem - go after the Wifi vendors that have made it easy to accidentally broadcast all of your communications in the clear (or with nearly useless WEP encryption). And for websites that allow you to send passwords and other sensitive information in plaintext.

    The problem isn't what Google will do with that data, but is what someone else may do with it as he sits outside your house, collecting passwords and account numbers culled from your em

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is garbage. We have bigger problems going on in this country and they want to waste time with this topic?
    This ticks me off to no end. Frank Pallone Jr. and John Barrow should be voted out of office for wasting taxpayer money
    beating this dead horse. How about working on getting this country out of debt without printing more cash first!

  • The government doesn't like it when others infringe on its territory. I'd be much more impressed if the US gov took as much interest in its own illegal snooping.

  • Each time I see another one of these weird obsessive lawmakers beating a dead horse things it reinforces my impression that Microsoft has not changed at all and is once again up to its old tricks. Maybe its just me.

  • Google cars were all on public roadways. If it's not encrypted, you don't own it once you broadcast it. The only legally interesting part of this is to figure out how screwed up the legal system is in this area: if you're standing on public property but look in through the window of a private house and see a naked woman, you're a peeping tom. If you look in and see a naked man, he's an exhibitionist.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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