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Call For DOJ To Reopen Google Wi-Fi Spying Investigation

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-were-just-in-the-neighborhood dept.

Google 82

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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Uh oh, they're Democrats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108013)

The Slashdot sheep won't be able to sweep this under the rug with the usual "blame-BOOOSH-ReTHUGlicans-are-teh-EVIL" tripe.

Priorities (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108025)

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).

Re:Priorities (2)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108127)

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.

http://www.cheapnikeshoesuk.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108275)

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Re:Priorities (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108907)

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 lost in lots of ways. Would it be surprising if other Google opponents had friends in government who could call the DoJ to re-open some issues? Check out who contributes to the two representatives and you might find the answer.

Re:Priorities (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109011)

Exactly what I was thinking. One needs to really "follow the money" on this one.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40110489)

Wrong-o, my friend. In "Operation Wide Receiver", which was run during the Bush years, The ATF actually tried to track the firearms. The Mexican government was fully briefed and on board. The ATF did a piss-poor job, using crappy tracking devices, that were crappily installed and used batteries that had insanely short lives. The Op was shut down after they lost track of about 200 guns.

In "Operation Fast and Furious", on the other hand, there was absolutely no attempt to track the guns. In excess of 2,000 guns were intentionally allow to "walk" into Mexico. The idea was to trace them back to the cartels after recovering them from Mexican crime scenes. The government of Mexico found out about this Op after the story broke in the blogosphere after Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed with "Fast and Furious" guns by drug-runners in Arizona. Later ICE Agent Jamie Zapata was killed in Mexico with a "Fast and Furious" gun. It has been estimated that to date in excess of 300 Mexican citizens have been killed by drug cartel killers using "Fast and Furious" guns.

Cynical, perhaps, but the real facts suck.

Re:Priorities (0)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108183)

My democratic friends tell me Romney wants to assassinate poor people

Re:Priorities (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108469)

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.

Re:Priorities (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108533)

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.

Re:Priorities (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40110029)

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.

Re:Priorities (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108203)

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 ....

Re:Priorities (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108251)

... 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.

Re:Priorities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108405)

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.

Re:Priorities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109067)

Yes, that's exactly how it works in the US.

Re:Priorities (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40116267)

See ALEC [slashdot.org]

Re:Priorities (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109123)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109793)

Worse, actually, is the ruleset that prohibits us from rewarding, removing or motivating these "civil servants" who are rarely civil and serve only their own careers, since that is all they are rewarded for. If we didn't pay them only to build kingdoms, then maybe they'd do more than that.

Re:Priorities (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108853)

No. They should have dug in their heels and said "Hey, fuck you, lock your access points. And while you're at it, you might want to check your TOS agreement you signed with your ISP, because you're not supposed to be connecting that AP to their network unless you've secured it."

The whole thing with editing Street View? Fuck That too. It's in public view, it ought to be on the map. It's not illegal for me to photograph people walking into an abortion clinic, why should it be illegal for anybody else? If you don't want to be identified in public, then either stay out of public or wear a disguise. Personally I think Google should have erased people and traffic just so there isn't a bus blocking the building I'm looking for, not because some fucking cunt can't handle their photograph being taken.
I shouldn't have to tip-toe around constantly worried about getting tossed in the Ass-Pounding House because I saw somebody walk into an abortion clinic or my smartphone automatically connected to their wireless AP.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40112209)

As I recall, they DID fess up in the first place, and that's what led to all these investigations. If they'd just quietly stopped, nobody would've ever known. Wanna bet what choice they make next time?

Re:Priorities (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40116279)

As I recall, they DID fess up in the first place, and that's what led to all these investigations. If they'd just quietly stopped, nobody would've ever known. Wanna bet what choice they make next time?

Yes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice ...

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109509)

This is nothing to do with partisan politics anyway.

Correct. It's about scoring cheap political points. Nothing more.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40110627)

Uh

You do realize how many lawsuits are going on on both sides, right? I'd even wager to say that APL is doing even more corporate trolling. At least M$ doesn't have a hard-on completely blocking products like HTC One and Galaxy Tabs for stupid reasons (violates a patent that if you click on something, it pops up a dialog asking which application to use -- much like what Windows does with an unknown extension, and "looks too similar" respectively).

You buying either of their products WILL result in your money being wasted on corporate trolling.

Re:Priorities (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40113273)

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

Re:Priorities (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40118927)

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 typing e-mails. Touch is nice when you have a Swype-like keyboard but otherwise I really can't help but feel touch is still a gimmick which works great for things like playing games, or are just reading information on an app like a newsreader, or Facebook, but is utterly useless if you actually want to get stuff done.

Linux is an alternative I guess, but I've never got on too well with it - always seem to spend more time pratting about fixing it and setting things up on it than actually being able to use it the many hundreds of times I've installed it on desktops.

As I said in a post elsewhere, whilst I agree Apple spreads a lot of FUD, to give them some credit, I do think they tend to stick to over-hyping their products, rather than attacking competitors when it comes to the PR side of things, whilst Microsoft, Facebook, and Oracle are outright nasty in that their entire PR campaigns seem built around attacking the competition, rather than showing off what they have to offer which frankly fucking stinks. The patent trolling by Apple is a different story of course though, and there's really little excuse for them triggering that off originally on the scale it's at now.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40132929)

Does it really matter? Assuming all the posturing is baseless and assuming it is all some conspiracy with Microsoft lobbying behind the scenes for an anti-trust investigation what does it matter? If they are doing nothing wrong they have nothing to fear, they will be absolved and will have a precedent to say "Hey, the DOJ investigated us and concluded we are not a monopoly or are not abusing our monopoly position."

Google vastly dominates search, and it has tied its products (Gmail, Maps, Documents, etc) in to its home page, obviously to leverage its market position in search. Microsoft did a similar tying with its products and its use of APIs (something its competitors can get away with due to their market position - iOS's Safari browser and banning of 3rd parties using private APIs) so naturally they would target a competitor getting away with something that is arguably just like what they got smacked down for.

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with what Google are doing in their product bundling, I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with collecting publicly broadcast data, I don't think there's anything wrong with iOS's Safari bundling and banning of use of private APIs, but then again I didn't think there was an issue with Windows' bundled IE and use of private APIs either. It's the same behavior, just perpetrated by companies with different market positions.

Re:Priorities (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109427)

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 (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40110039)

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.

And those were real Americans. Al-Awlaki was born in the US by Yemeni student parents, and if we had sane laws that wouldn't grant citizenship. Then for the rest of his life he identified as a Yemeni citizen, even coming back to the US briefly to study on a foreign student visa from Yemen.

What does any of that have to do with Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40112961)

Seriously, what does anything in your post have to do with investigating Google? Because you don't like some actions of the Obama administration, that means Google should never be investigated? Or what?

Your post is basically just a big, populist distraction intended to get a +5 and get people angry about someone other than Google.

Uh oh, they're Democrats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108027)

The Slashdot sheep won't be able to easily sweep this under the rug with their usual "blame-BOOOSH-ReTHUGlicans-are-teh-EVIL" tripe

While they're at it... (4, Insightful)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108041)

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. (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108051)

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:Commercial attack. (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108141)

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...

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109027)

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.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109307)

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 ?

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40115089)

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

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40118195)

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.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40123955)

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 isn't wrong, but it doesn't cause harm to anyone in any way and it's not remotely evil.

If you hand your credit card to someone and they look at it and happen to remember the information printed on it a month later, they did not steal your credentials.

I'm not saying what Google did was right, but it doesn't qualify as evil. Stupid, sure, but not evil.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40127141)

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.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128375)

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 broadcast information and doing nothing with it isn't something they needed to lie about. What they should have done was announce something along the lines of "Yes, we recorded packets from non-encrypted connections. Anyone stupid enough to send sensitive information over a non-encrypted connection should be really grateful that we have no intention of doing anything with that information."

Lying isn't inherently evil. Everyone does it all the time. Whether it's saying "Fine" when someone says "How are you" or telling a child Santa Clause is coming or that nothing is going on when you're actually planning a surprise birthday party or one of the uncountable other "little white lies", we all do it and it isn't evil.

Wrong is also not inherently evil. I'm dieting. If I eat a cookie, it's wrong, but it's not evil. If you don't brush your teeth every day, it's wrong but not evil. Trying to equate wrong with evil is dumb.

Google lied to cover their ass when they didn't really need to. It was stupid and wrong, but it wasn't evil by any realistic definition of the term.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109369)

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

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40114591)

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

Re:Commercial attack. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108265)

RIght. Of course if this were any other company, you'd be all over them.

It IS illegal to snoop on unencrypted wifi signals... It is exactly as illegal as using a scanner to listen to someone's unencrypted cordless telephone conversations.

Re:Commercial attack. (3, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108451)

... And it's not illegal for many governments to force ISP's and telco to install no-warrent-required sniffers on all your telecoms.

One is HUGE threat to our whole society.

The other was (at very worst) a dumb attempt by a single engineer to bulild the most 'leet wardriving map ever!' piggybacked on a quite legit (and helpful to users by makign GPS work much faster) publically broadcast ssid collecting effort.

I can spot the difference.. can you?

Re:Commercial attack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109029)

It wasn't a single engineer.

Re:Commercial attack. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108929)

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, never posted before, first posts are now getting voted to -1 where they belong, and posts pointing out the fact that such stories and events are the result of lobbying are finally getting outed as such.

Perhaps companies now seeing the exact opposite of what they were paying for becoming more prominent on articles and forums means they'll give the fuck up and we can go back to tech companies competing on their merits, tech news can go back to focussing on actual news rather than FUD, and politicians can go back to focussing on things that matter rather than lining their pockets with dirty tech company money. Yeah yeah, I know, that'll be too much to ask for, especially the last one, but one can dream right?

I've always felt Apple could be a bit annoying getting blatant PR stories with no real substance in the news, but to be fair on Apple, and very much to their credit - at least such stories were always focussed on selling a good and positive image of Apple and it's products, rather than trolling competitors.

Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle, are all just being plain fucking nasty, and I don't like nasty companies. If I did, I'd probably also buy News Corp. newspapers. Companies like Google absolutely do do wrong, but at least they're not plain and outright nasty in the way Microsoft, Facebook, and Oracle are.

Pro-Google sockpuppets are posting on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40113023)

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.

Prove a single word of these statements. Otherwise, you're the one acting like a paid sockpuppet--paid by Google to defend them on Slashdot. Notice that the post above yours is talking about pushing wiretapping laws, and the one above that is angrily attacking the Obama administration for other random things that have nothing to do with Google. The pro-Google astroturfing on Slashdot has reached a fever pitch, and notice that every one of these posts gets an instant +5. It's almost as if there's a coordinated effort to attack elements in the government that might challenge Google.

Even more bizarre is how, if this was Microsoft, opinions on Slashdot would be totally different--because they were different during the Microsoft-DOJ antitrust trial circa 2000, and you can go back and read the comments to see that Slashdot had an anti-corporate viewpoint back then. Now that it's Google, they have an anti-government viewpoint. Hmm...

*Someone* didn't get their check (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108109)

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

Complete failure to understand technology (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108299)

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.

No, that's NOT the only difference.

There isn't a PC in existence that's a business that makes money selling private details about people.

And when such a business sends a whole fleet of cars around with listening devices storing every WiFi packet they encounter, and THEN they lie about it, it sure as hell is a lot different then some random PC ignoring packets its WiFi antenna happens to pick up.

Please stop spending time under Google exec's desks.

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108565)

There isn't a PC in existence that's a business that makes money selling private details about people.

Tell that to all the people who have had their life hijacked after falling for a malware scam. .. But I guess that is done by 'cybercriminals' and you are not being paid to schill against them.

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40133149)

There isn't a PC in existence that's a business that makes money selling private details about people.

Tell that to all the people who have had their life hijacked after falling for a malware scam. .. But I guess that is done by 'cybercriminals' and you are not being paid to schill against them.

Nice attempt at a strawman you've got there - you know it's bad when you can't even produce a viable strawman argument - like he said "There isn't a PC in existence that's a business that makes money selling private details about people", and you affirmed his point with "But I guess that is done by 'cybercriminals'".

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108629)

There are plenty of current businesses that make a profit off of private data. However, something is only private if you keep it private. Credit agencies thrive off of the exposure of your information whenever you apply for any kind of credit.

So what is the limit of cars you can send around listening to unencrypted WiFi packets? You seem to think it takes a "fleet" to make it illegal. If it takes just one car, then can I be arrested for doing it in my personal car? What about a fleet of vehicles with directional audio recorders to listen to people in their house? What about one car doing that? What about a person standing in the street with an audio recorder?

Where is your line? And make sure the definition of that line isn't some 100 page document that no one understands that has 5000 loopholes.

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108651)

There isn't a PC in existence that's a business that makes money selling private details about people.

No, but there's plenty of comparable technologies and businesses.

Tell that to malls that sniff your cellphone and/or facetrack to analyze your shopping habits. lol

How about night clubs and convenience stores that scan ID's and advertise based on that? Convenience or grocery stores that offer discount keyfobs or tags?

Get a clue. :)

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109381)

What private details? You mean like public wifi ssids?

Re:Complete failure to understand technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40111007)

To be perfectly accurate, they don't sell that information. They want to keep it as private to themselves as possible -- just like how Facebook doesn't want users to export their data out.

The "value add" that Google is offering companies that want to advertise is that they can target advertisements to the user as accurately as possible. The information never leaves Google's servers, and the companies that want to advertise never actually come close to touching Google's information about you.

In essence, they're not selling the data, but using it to enhance their product over their competitors.

be careful what you wish for (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108151)

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 if you want to use it for semi-private communication. If people had so much as ROT13'ed their packets, I'd fully side with them if google broke the ROT13.

But do we REALLY want to live in a world where using computer and communication technology *as designed* is illegal? That's the very kind of muddled legal thinking that makes people say, "linking to illegal content is the same as hosting illegal content". Because make no mistakes, if we allow this to happen to companies we don't like, it WILL be used against us too.

Do not measure these things by how emotionally satisfying they are. Measure them by the harm they will do (will, not can!) when they are misapplied in other ways in the future. When the government wants to lock down the internet even more, and makes it illegal for the common person to do some simple thing that computers have been doing for decades.

Be careful what you wish for. You want to see google die? Me too. So let's all stop using them.

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109441)

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 practically every other search engine, it seems) totally. It's silly to relate to reality as if it is one big false dichotomy.

To be a bit more explicit, you merely have to continue your style of private non-Google browsing in a second browser instance (e.g., in a VM) which also runs NoScript (to block all the Google+ Javascript associated with the buttons).

As to your somehow thinking that Google, and only Google, are evil demons destroying the privacy of the net, I am sorry to inform you that every commercial entity with which you interact, with or without a net presence, tries to maintain a database of information on you. Your use of the net must be very limited if you are trying as hard to prevent them from doing that as you are trying to prevent Google. Think: no using Microsoft/Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Re:be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109635)

It is possible to both use Google services and at the same time hide information from Google

With some care that is true, but then you are supporting the continued privacy invasions from one of the worst companies in that regard (arguably THE worst).

As to your somehow thinking that Google, and only Google,

What are you talking about? Where did I say ONLY google is a problem in this regard?

Strawman much?

Also, just because many companies are bad in this regard does not mean some are not worse than others. Specifically, google and facebook are almost certainly the two worst offenders out there.

Re:be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40111049)

At least Google's upfront about it. "We're using your personal information (which you can see in the Dashboard) to tailor ads and to a lesser degree search results". Oh, and have these things free of charge, since you're giving up some privacy.

I have Ghostery running, so I'm aware of all the companies that have tracking cookies. Do you know how many companies are out there invading your privacy?

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#40112829)

> Specifically, google and facebook are almost certainly the two worst offenders out there.

I'm curious. Do you think they are the worst because of their prominent market positions (i.e., from a quantitative point of view), or do you believe they are the worst because of their bad policies (i.e., from a qualitative point of view).

I might just agree with you with respect to Google, if you mean it in a quantitative way.

Re:be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40113227)

Do you think they are the worst because of their prominent market positions (i.e., from a quantitative point of view)

Close. I think they're the worst because their tentacles seem to be present on more web sites than any of their competitors in this space. It's increasingly hard to find ANY web site that isn't running google's tracking scripts. Facebook is bad too, but not quite that bad. Not only that, but it's not just tracking web behavior, but it's email, it's everything they possibly can.

Re:be careful what you wish for (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 2 years ago | (#40112529)

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.

Re:be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40133185)

There is nothing stopping you from refuting his post, if you're able, but it seems you can't and that all you've got is just childish name-calling. If that's your only response to an anti-Google post it certainly looks like it's you that has an interest in making sure anything anti-Google is perceived as being part of a conspiracy.

Google are not immune to criticism and people like you who can't even come up with a rational rebuttal obviously have a vested interest in making sure such criticism is buried beneath a wave of accusations of "shilling".

Isn't this the wireless equivalent of a picture? (1)

techsimian (2555762) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108161)

They got a snapshot of someone's open wireless...it's like taking a picture with your garage door open then you complaining that I took a picture of you with your garage door open.

Re:Isn't this the wireless equivalent of a picture (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108191)

...Or like complaining that Google's Street View cameras caught you paying for hookers?

Re:Isn't this the wireless equivalent of a picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108219)

We were just talking, I swear!!!

Re:Isn't this the wireless equivalent of a picture (3, Funny)

starless (60879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108301)

...Or like complaining that Google's Street View cameras caught you paying for hookers?

Or, if you're in the Secret Service, not paying for hookers...

Re:Isn't this the wireless equivalent of a picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108955)

I hear the Secret Service is considering switching to Eunuchs.

Frank Pallone, Jr. (1)

organgtool (966989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108387)

I'm going to remember that name this November so that I make sure not to press any boxes next to it.

Re:Frank Pallone, Jr. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40109009)

Why? Are you upset that he is going after the Google cock you so readily suck?

Spending someone else's dime (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108717)

If they're so interested in pursuing this, then they should personally finance it, instead of wasting more tax revenue on another insignificant investigation.

Encrypt your data (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40108811)

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 emails.

Garbage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108927)

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!

Investigate the wifi operators too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40108993)

People go out of their way to set up unencrypted wifi, in order to more widely share and broadcast things to anyone and everyone who happened to be in the area. Then when someone passively payed attention to it, suddenly the listener was in trouble. If a crime happened, let's all hope that the Wifi AP operators are punished at least as much as Google, because they were more complicit. It couldn't have happened without their aggressive act of the broadcasting. Futhermore, since lack of encryption proves they had no intent to keep the information private (in addition to it effectively not being privact), we should view that as intent to trap listeners.

This is like if every door came with a good lock, and you removed the lock from your door, put it on the front of your house, and then broadcast it to the world (remember, we're talking about actual active broadcast tech here) with a sign saying "Come on in." Then among the dozens strangers that came in, you single one out a few months after he's left and say he intruded. I hope the system lets the "intruder" go and prosecute you for something.

We are never going to have privacy if we don't take it seriously. Taking it seriously means having a clear idea of when people are trying to be private (and then using the readily-available means to make it be private) and when they're not trying. Furthermore, we have the tech for those who seek privacy, to actually have it. Today's systems heavily weigh in favor of the user and against the cryptanalyst. People who hold back privacy by abstaining from using 1977-or-later tech ought to be shunned and mocked as much as possible, and We The People should work toward making sure the law never goes their way. The people going after Google in this case, are the enemies of privacy. Become a friend of privacy and join Google on this, as ironic as it may seem to ignorant laypeople. You are a techie and therefore understand what actually happened between the AP and the Google van, right, or else you wouldn't be here on Slashdot.

Just like booze, gambling and guns... (1)

Tool Man (9826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40109051)

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.

Microsoft again? (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40113813)

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.

They're public airways. End of story. (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40114121)

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.

Point that investigation the other way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40115853)

I don't know if I'm the only one, but I personally think the USDOJ's time would be much better spent investigating the stock portfolios of
Representatives Frank Pallone Jr., and John Barrow, for shorts on Google's stock.

Old habits die hard.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0404/Obama-signs-STOCK-Act-banning-insider-trading-by-members-of-Congress-video

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