Watchdog Group Slams Federal Agency For Closing Its Investigation Of Google

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Watchdog group slams federal agency for closing its investigation of GoogleA nonprofit consumer advocacy group has criticized the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for ending its investigation of a Google mapping program.

CNN reports that the FTC has called off its inquiry into Google's "Street View," which had collected and stored passwords and emails from people using Wi-Fi networks. The corporation claimed the data was gathered inadvertently. The Federal agency said that Google has sufficiently addressed the problem and it will not be fined.

The organization Consumer Watchdog responded by saying the FTC has failed to inform the American public on the extent of Google's invasion of privacy. The group suggested that Congress conduct hearings on the matter.

John Simpson, the director of Consumer Watchdog's Inside Google Project, said there is "no excuse" for the FTC to shut down their probe.

"Once again, Google, with its myriad of government connections, gets a free pass," said Simpson. "At a minimum the public deserved a full report about Google's abuses from the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection."

The advocacy group noted that officials in the United Kingdom, which is one of the 30 countries where Street View collected consumer data, have re-opened an investigation of Google's mapping program. In Canada, privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that the company illegally intercepted emails, URLs, passwords and other sensitive data.

In its letter to Google, which was sent on Oct. 27, the FTC said that the company is going to appoint a director of privacy for engineering and product management, according to CNN. In addition, the letter stated that Google intends to delete the user data it had collected." 

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