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Now on Google Street View: The Homes of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 8 2010

The folks from the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog are going after Google for taking "Street View" photos of the homes 19 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which happens to be the congressional overseers of much of Google's business.

The argument Consumer Watchdog is making is that the Street View cam (1) put Google in the position of tracking the wireless home networks of those members of Congress that then (2) potentially exposed national security secrets. That second bit requires, however, that Homeland Security Committee member and eight-term member of Congress Jane Harman would actually be keeping sensitive information of that sort on her unencrypted home WiFi network.

(How did CW prove that Google could have gotten into members' home network? They seem to have done on-the-scene investigating: "Of the five homes our consumer group checked, one, Harman's, had a clearly identifiable and vulnerable network. '')

One thing to say about Consumers Watchdog: they know their audience here. There's a pretty good chance that the targeted members of Congress might be freaked out by seeing detailed photos of their homes pasted on the web, courtesy of Google.

It's worth keeping in mind that Consumers Watchdog has set itself up as an anti-Google Inc. group, most recently going after Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin for emailing on occasion with his former colleagues at Google.