It looks likeGoogle Inc.won't be able to put the Street View privacy scandal in its rear-view mirror any time soon.A newly unredacted report from federal investigators and fresh information about the engineer behind the data collecting software are casting doubt on Google's assurances that it did not realize that its street-mapping cars were snatching personal data from Wi-Fi networks used by millions of unsuspecting households.
Google has blamed the data collection on a lone engineer, but the report suggests that the practice was known more widely within the company.The revelations could trigger congressional hearings and reignite the controversy that Google may have thought was behind it when several federal regulatory agencies closed their investigations without bringing any charges.
"Google's motto has always been 'Do no evil.' It should also be 'Do no eavesdropping,'" said Rep. Edward J. Markey(D-Mass.), senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "Google needs to fully explain to Congress and the public what it knew about the collection of data through its Street View program."
In addition to a potential congressional probe, a coalition of more than 40 state attorneys general, led by Connecticut and including California and New York, is pressing ahead with its inquiry.Consumers have also filed nearly a dozen civil lawsuits that they hope to combine into a class action in federal court while privacy watchdogs are hounding Google and accusing the Federal Communications Commission of botching its investigation into the search giant.