Privacy advocates forcefully criticized the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday after the agency dropped its inquiry into a privacy breach by Google.
The company had collected and stored private user information, such as passwords and entire e-mails, without even realizing it. Google's action remain under scrutiny abroad.
Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, characterized the development as the FTC giving Google "a free pass."
"The FTC keeps giving Google a free pass to collect consumer data card," he said. "While Canadian and other regulators are in hot pursuit of Google's wifi data collection practices, the FTC has dropped its own investigation."
He said Google's "flip flips on this issue--no we didn't collect, yes we did" are one reason a stronger investigation would have been appropriate. He also questioned whether Google's political clout helped it through the privacy debacle.
"Google's political clout with the Obama administration also raises concerns that federal policymakers are fearful of taking on the online ad giant," he said...