"This is the greatest example of wiretapping in American history," said Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court.
At a news conference Thursday in Santa Monica and in Washington, D.C., Consumer Watchdog alleged Google has illegally gathered personal information from millions of Americans, including members of congress.
"This 'Wi-Spying' scandal isn't just about Google wiretapping, taking data from hundreds of millions of individuals literally across the world," said Court. "It's also about national security secrets potentially being in the open."
Last month Google admitted to collecting data through open Wi-Fi networks from the public while taking pictures of people's homes and neighborhoods. The company claims it was an accident and that it never analyzed or used the information.
Collecting such data is not difficult. It's fairly easy to find open Wi-Fi networks.
Consumer Watchdog said they sniffed around homes, including some members of congress, and found their home Wi-Fi networks to be vulnerable to intrusion.
"We have not had a hearing from the House Commerce Committee on this problem," said Court. "Which is startling to me."
Meantime, protect your Wi-Fi:
- Make sure you use encryption and complex passwords.
- Use a virtual private network for business.
- And use a firewall.
"I just believe that members of congress, like most Americans, don't realize how at risk they are of their privacy being violated," said Court.
Although there is no proof Google actually gathered sensitive national security information, Consumer Watchdog believes Google is collecting the data for advertising purposes at least.
Consumer Watchdog also said Thursday that Google has a contract with the National Security Agency. That's the very agency that is supposed to protect our national security systems.