Google Wi-Fi Scandal Concerns Most Americans

Americans still view Google favorably

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A majority of Americans are concerned about Google’s Street View cars that collected private information from their Wi-Fi networks and want better privacy protections put in place, according to a new poll from Consumer Watchdog.

Overall, 74 percent of Americans view Google favorably, but 65 percent say the Wi-Fi scandal is one of the things that "worries them most" or a "great deal" with another 20 percent saying it "raises some concern" when considering online issues.

John-Simpson-Consumer-Watch.jpgGoogle’s cooperation with the National Security Agency without saying what information is being shared. Even more people are calling for Congressional hearings on "Google’s gathering data from home WiFi networks and its sharing of information with U.S. spy agencies like the National Security Administration, the NSA" (69% favor, 19% oppose).

"This poll shows that the Wi-Spy scandal is a political minefield for both Google and Congress, and it has the power to scar both," said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with the group.

"The company and the government need to come clean about how Google is cooperating with NSA."

The majority (90%) of consumers support more laws that protect the privacy of their online personal information.  Among these, 67 percent say it is "very important" and there is not much difference based on age. Consumers under 50, including those ages 18-29, are just as likely to say more privacy laws are needed as those over the age of 70.

A "make me anonymous button" is favored by 86 percent of consumers, followed by preventing online companies from tracking personal information or web searches without their approval (84%).

"It’s time for Congress to act on these issues and for Google and the government to deliver real privacy protections like a make me anonymous button or a do not track list," said Simpson.

"These privacy protections are ripe for ballot initiatives in states like California if Congress and statehouses won’t act."

Google Wi-Fi Scandal Concerns Most Americans
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  • Guest

    It’s time for the government to act. I’m all for government involvement at this point. G. asked for it for being so reckless and greedy. Regarding Antitrust issues, that’s another thing the government has to act upon the sooner the better4 before more businesses and consumers get affected by it. Universal search has to go!

    I’m glad we have insidegoogle.com watching big G. They sure need to be watched very closely.

  • Don

    People, not the government, need to get a grip.

    We all want the convenience of working remotely, shopping on-line, and moving about our house or our back yard w/out wires, and even having access to every piece of data all the time (car, train, coffee shop…). But then we’re shocked and amazed when someone connects to our home wifi (either mistakenly or on purpose) from outside our property, or the library PC is stolen and our credit card info is buried in a cookie some place, or our X-rated search is still in the history.

    You wouldn’t use a megaphone to talk to your neighbor about the problems you’re having with your mortgage, and just expect the mailman/paperboy… walking by to put his/her hands over their ears, right?

    If your unencrypted home networked can be sniffed (or is it snorted) from the street or your neighbors house, by a car going by at 30-40 MPH, then you need to look at your encryption settings, and router and antenna location.

    If you want to shop, using a credit card, at the public library or McDonald’s, then you need to first find out about browser/cookie settings and their retention policy.

    Next you’re going to blame LG, Samsung, or Apple when you lose your “smart” phone and someone gets all your friends contact information, pokes fun at your eclectic browser history, and sees every place you’ve been because your GPS-app remembered every place you’ve been since you turned the device on (even though that tidbit was buried on page 453 of the downloadable manual you refused to read).

    I want the government fixing the big things they’ve already messed up, like our health care and Social Security. I don’t want them dictating new laws on something they can’t possibly control, like forcing browser security on every pay-for and open source browser.


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