Tech Roundup: FCC investigates Google 'Wi-Spy' breach

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FCC investigates Google 'Wi-Spy' breach

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating whether Google broke federal law when it collected private user data, including e-mails and passwords, from Wi-Fi networks, an FCC official confirmed Wednesday.

The FCC opened an investigation earlier this year. The agency likely wants to know if Google violated laws against electronic eavesdropping.

Rep. 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 (D-Mass.) praises the FCC  for 'Wi-Spy' probe

“The Federal Communications Commission is rightly investigating whether Google’s Street View cars steamrolled privacy laws in pursuit of mapping information," Markey said in a statement Wednesday.

He said it should not be taken lightly that technology can be "be used for drive-by snooping into people's personal lives."
Telecom slot opens as Markey seeks to lead Dems on Natural Resources

A front-runner to become to top telecom voice for House Democrats, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) announced Wednesday that he will instead seek a leading role on the House Natural Resources Committee (

That means the race could heat up for the ranking-member slot on the House Communications subcommittee. The role became available after Rep. Rick Boucher (Va.), the top Democratic subcommittee member, lost his reelection campaign.

Contenders include Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who has Google's headquarters in her district, and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), according to observers. Both are vocal proponents of net-neutrality rules. 

Doyle is open to the role; Eshoo has been mum on the issue.

Doyle's spokesman, Matt Dinkel, said earlier this month: "Given the congressman's interest in, and leadership on, telecom issues, he would certainly be interested if the opportunity presented itself." (

HP to pay $16.25 million to settle E-rate fraud case

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay $16.25 million to the government to settle charges HP lavished gifts on employees of school districts in Dallas and Houston in order to gain contracts to sell $17 million in HP equipment.

Contractors provided officials with gifts including trips on a yacht and tickets to the 2004 Super Bowl for inside information on the contract award process. HP also committed to playing by the rules in the future. The E-rate program provides funding to bring Internet connections to almost every classroom in the country.


Read more in The Hill:

White House aide helps AMD open technology center in Germantown

Steven J. Robinson of the White House Domestic Policy Council (special assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education) was on hand Wednesday afternoon in Germantown, Md., to help AMD and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington launch a new technology center that will serve 130 area youth. Equipped with 10 new computers, the center will benefit more than 130 youth in Germantown who have limited access to technology.


A Senate Commerce Communications subcommittee hearing on TV blackouts, looking at retransmission consent regulations, which govern talks between broadcasters and pay-TV companies (

THURS: A Senate Finance International Trade subcommittee hearing on trade in the digital economy.

Senate Judiciary Committee markup of online piracy legislation.

Industry notes

Google employees get raise, bonus. "In an apparent move to stave off defections to competitors, Google announced it is giving all its employees a $1,000 cash bonus and a raise of 10 percent, according to a source familiar with the matter," CNET reports.

Google faces hunger strike in China.
Google is facing a hunger strike in China from advertising business partners whose contracts were terminated, IDG News Service reported Tuesday. About 40 people who work for former Google business partners have gone on a hunger strike that will continue until their demands are met, according to a spokesman for the protesters.

EU net-neutrality review suggests no action, for now.
"While the policy landscape in the United States remains largely unsettled, the European Commission indicated Tuesday that a consultation with stakeholders on net neutrality does not suggest a need for new European Union rules at this time but action might be needed in the future to preserve the openness of the Internet," Tech Daily Dose reports.

Texting correlates with teen drinking, drugs, sex. Teens who love to text may be more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than their less textual counterparts, The Associated Press reports. A provocative new study shows that kids who send more than 120 texts a day are also more likely to have engaged in those activities.

Hill notes

Children's digital privacy law — 'tense' discussion.
"Privacy experts traded barbs Tuesday during a tense panel discussion on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which revealed just how difficult legislating privacy issues can be," Tech Daily Dose reports.


TRENDING — "nicknamesinmyphone" was a trending topic on Twitter in Washington early Thursday morning. Among the fake names people have stored in cell phones to describe their contacts: "Don't pick up," "don't answer" and "creeper."