In a letter to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton, the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group’s John M. Simpson wrote:
“Based on today’s Washington Post, it appears that Google holds classified U.S. government contracts to supply search and geospatial information to the U.S. government. In addition, White House records show that Google executives have been holding meetings with U.S. national security officials for undisclosed reasons. Finally, it also appears that Google’s widely criticized efforts to collect wireless network data on American citizens were not inadvertent, contrary to the company’s claims.”
“As history has repeatedly shown, alliances between the U.S. intelligence community and giant corporations that collect data on American citizens can be a toxic combination where the U.S. Constitution is concerned,” the letter said.
In a June 9 letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee, Google director for public policy Pablo Chavez asserted that Google “mistakenly included code in our software that collected samples of ‘payload data’ ” from private WiFi networks. But review of a patent application from Google covering the gathering of WiFi data published Jan. 28 shows that the data collection program was a very deliberate effort to assemble as much information as possible about U.S. residential and business WiFi networks.
The letter continued: