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Google May Face Congressional Hearing Over WiFi Data Collection

Calling Google’s collection of personal data over unsecured WiFi networks “very troubling,” a US congressman says CEO Eric Schmidt may be called to answer questions when the new Congress convenes next year. Representative Joe Barton made the comments on C-SPAN’s The Communicators program today.

Although Google has repeatedly said the data collection was inadvertent, Barton seemed to express doubts about that on the program:

There appears to have been a conscious effort to collect information. Now, Google has said it was inadvertent. But it wasn’t just kind of … accidentally gathered. And I do think that’s something we could look at.

Barton also spoke during the show about Facebook-related privacy issues, and when asked later if Facebook and Google executives might be called before the House Commerce Committee, he said, “you could almost guarantee that.” You can watch the interview on C-SPAN’s web site; the Google comments come in response to a question that starts at the 22:50 mark.

The Federal Trade Commission recently ended its investigation of Google’s Wi-Fi data collection and announced no penalties.

(via BusinessWeek)

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