States, consumer watchdogs keeping an eye on Google

The economy may be more sour than month-old milk but these are sweet times for lobbyists with connections to elected officials--and, dare we say it, the elected officials themselves--as major forces mount up to battle for control of the Internet. Add Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to the list of players opening their coffers to the tune of $1.34 million in the second quarter alone to lobby federal lawmakers and regulators, according to a news release from Consumer Watchdog.

Most of Google's lobbyists have some connections with elected officials which means "Google has become one of the key political players by freely spending and taking advantage of Washington's revolving-door culture to hire its corporate messengers," John Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog said in the release. "Google has a definite Washington agenda and is willing to spend millions to further it."

Perhaps Google should also look outside the Beltway since it's running afoul of 37 states, which have asked for more information about how the search engine collected user data over WiFi networks--which included personal information--when developing information for its Google Street Views.

According to Google, it was "a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal." State authorities, led by Conn. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal aren't so sure about that, claiming if Google indeed tested its software before hitting the streets "it should have known all along that (it) snared and collected confidential data."

For more:
- see this news release
- and this story

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