Technology has penetrated every aspect of our daily lives, and some are beginning to ask how the government uses tools such as Google Earth to track the whereabouts of United States citizens.
Recently, Consumer Watchdog (CS) filed a petition under the Freedom of Information Act to find out how the FBI and DEA may be using Google Earth’s digital mapping technology for the purposes of domestic surveillance, and possibly also racial profiling or other infringements of civil liberties.
"The public needs to know how law enforcement is using Google’s technologies," said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with CS.
"We call on the FBI and the DEA to expeditiously respond to our requests for information," he added.
The petition was prompted by CS’ review of Federal contracting records, which indicated the FBI has spent more than $600,000 on the Internet giant’s service, while the DEA has paid more than $67,000.
The organization has also commissioned a poll which showed that 55 percent of respondents were concerned about Google’s cooperation with the National Security Agency without disclosing what information it shares. Moreover, 69 percent are in favor of Congressional hearings on "Google’s gathering data from home WiFi networks and its sharing of information with U.S. spy agencies."