updated 06:35 pm EDT, Wed May 19, 2010
FTC and DoJ said to be mulling inquiries
Representatives Joe Barton and Edward Markey have asked the FTC to begin a formal inquiry into Google's Street View practices. The lawmakers are seeking answers related to Google's collection of Wi-Fi data and other personal information as the company's vehicles roamed the country taking pictures for the Street View database.
Barton and Markey want to know exactly who has access to the collected data, what information was gathered, and the location and methods for storing the data. The FTC was also asked to determine if the actions were deceptive or illegal.
Although the government agencies have yet to publicly respond to the letter submitted by Barton and Markey, sources have told Reuters that the FTC and Department of Justice are both considering formal investigations.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, speaking at the company's I/O conference, did not try to dodge the accusations. "We screwed up. I'm not going to make any excuses about it," he admitted.
Brin suggests that the error occurred despite a variety of internal controls designed to prevent such issues. The company is said to be putting more controls in place and "bringing in third parties" to assist with the project.
"Trust is very important to us," Brin said. "We are doing everything we can to preserve that trust."