Add Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to the list of politicians out there who are shocked -- shocked! -- by the now-stale revelation that Google inadvertently scooped up snippets of unsecured Wi-Fi payload data while collecting Street View images. Blumenthal -- who happens to be running for re-election this year -- wants to lead a multistate investigation of Google's deed, no doubt to create the illusion that lawmakers are actively protecting companies and citizens from cyber criminals.
Fighting cyber crime and making the Internet safer is an important cause, no question. But the fact that politicians are hell-bent on dog-piling on Google -- which has been entirely forthcoming and cooperative, and has helped reveal just how insecure people's data really is -- indicates to me how skewed our elected officials' priorities are. I can't say if it's matter of utter cluelessness or of choosing the battles that are easiest to win, but there are far more important issues for Blumenthal and company to tackle.
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Examples? Why certainly. How about going after the real cyber criminals, the organized syndicates that cause millions of dollars in damage every day by stealing identities and bilking financial companies? I wonder if Blumenthal has heard of an organization called the Russian Business Network (RBN). The group offers Web hosting services and Internet access to parties that engage in a motley of criminal and objectionable activities, with individual activities earning up to $150 million annually, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Personally, I'm more worried about a cyber thug secretly getting a hold of my Social Security number than Google telling me that it grabbed 5 seconds' worth of data I sent via the unsecure Wi-Fi connection at the coffee shop down the block.