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Will Eric Schmidt have to face the music in Congress?

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 27 seconds

When Google accidentally grabbed personal data like e-mails, passwords and other wifi information they most certainly were not thinking of the consequences. Last week Google got a slap on the wrist in the UK when the Information Commissioner’s Office said Google had “committed a “significant breach” of the UK’s Data Protection Act”. Google there got away with just the slap, they weren’t fined or punished in any other way.

The victory of the Republicans in the US elections last week however might be the setup for something bigger for Google.

U.S. Representative Joe Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a tv- interview last week said there was a big chance chief executives from companies such as Google and Facebook could be called before the Commerce Committee.

Barton said:

“The Google thing is very troubling. There appears to have been a conscious effort to collect information. Now, Google has said it was inadvertent,But it wasn’t just kind of accidentally gathered.”

Now Google might be in ‘trouble’ here, but we must also keep in mind that Barton is trying to become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. His remarks must be seen within that light. Also the fact that Eric Schmidt was a big Obama supporter might play a role in this. Barton stated:

“Republicans in the majority in the House have a responsibility to the country to not only keep an eye on the Obama administration, we also have to make sure that the private sector plays by the rules.”

Still, the information that the Streetview cars have gathered and the confession which Google did on this matter has backfired immensely. One wonders if its all worth it for Google.

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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.