SCP urges members of Congress to question FCC Chairman, other Commissioners about its plans to protect children and families from online threats at annual oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission

To the Members of the Committee:

I am writing on behalf of Stop Child Predators (SCP), an advocacy, education and outreach organization based in Washington, DC, to voice our organization's concerns about Google prior to your Committee's annual oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week.

Over several years, Google has shown consistent disregard for the safety and privacy of children, families and consumers in general. It is not clear to our organization that the FCC has the authority—or willingness to exercise its authority—to respond to Google's practices on behalf of American families. Two examples particularly underscore this issue:

  • "Doodle-4-Google"-In February 2011, it was reported that Google was collecting Social Security Number information from children who participated in an art contest sponsored by Google. Once this violation was reported (e.g., in New York magazine and elsewhere), Google ceased the practice and claimed to have discarded data that it collected. How did the FCC respond to this privacy violation?
  • "Wi-Spy"-More recently, the FCC issued a scathing filing about Google's practice of snooping data from residential Wi-Fi hotspots (see report in CNNMoney). Contrary to Google's previous statements, the FCC found that Google had deliberately planned to collect unsecured data. The FCC could only penalize Google $25,000 (for failure to cooperate), and Americans still do not know what exactly happened—and what remedial steps have been taken.

During your upcoming hearing, please ask FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and other Commissioners what steps it has taken and plans to take to ensure that Google complies with U.S. privacy law. How will the FCC proactively protect children and families from online threats? Thank you.

Stacie D. Rumenap