FCC: Google, AT&T breaches 'different,' 'each worrisome'

Breaches by AT&T and Google that jeopardized private user information are "each worrisome in [their] own way" and amount to "different kinds of intrusions," Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consumer bureau chief Joel Gurin said in a blog post Friday morning.

In what appears to be the FCC's first public comment on a privacy breach by Google, Gurin writes that the search giant's privacy error "raises important concerns." Google has said that it may have collected private user information running over Wi-Fi networks.

The FCC's public statement on the Google incident follows concern raised on Capitol Hill over the breach.

"Whether intentional or not, collecting information sent over Wi-Fi networks clearly infringes on consumer privacy," Gurin writes.

He adds that users can boost their security against breaches like Google's right away — by being careful what they send over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.

Meanwhile, Gurin reiterates the agency's concern over an AT&T security breach that allowed hackers to view the e-mail addresses of over 100,000 iPad users (reportedly including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel). The incident "appears to be a classic security breach," Gurin said.

The AT&T error is exactly the sort that has the FCC worked up about cybersecurity, accordingly to Gurin, now that the agency is "addressing cybersecurity as a high priority."