Barton alleges Google 'Wi-Spy' breach was intentional

Calling the incident "very troubling," he said he would consider investigating Google if he becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress. 

Barton added that Democrats are also concerned about Google's breach.

"I know Congressman [Edward MarkeyEd MarkeySenators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes MORE] is concerned about it on the Democrat side, and Chairman [Henry Waxman] is concerned about it," he said.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced last month that it had ended an inquiry into the matter after Google promised to improve its privacy practices. 

Privacy advocates strongly criticized the FTC's decision to close the case without punishing Google. 


Google has said the incident was caused by computer code that it accidentally included in a program. The program was not deployed to collect user information from Wi-Fi networks, according to the company. 

The information was collected in Google' Street View cars, which traverse neighborhoods taking pictures for the Google Maps application.

The C-SPAN interview focused on how Barton would approach telecom policy if he becomes chairman. The remarks about Google are at the 22:54 mark. 

Barton is campaigning to become the Energy and Commerce chairman when the GOP assumes the House majority.

UPDATE: A Google spokesperson responded with this comment:

"As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks. As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities. As we assured the FTC, which has closed its inquiry, this data has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way. We want to delete the data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns.”