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FCC SAYS MORE FOCUS NEEDED ON SECURITY

Source: redOrbit

Posted on June 26, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission says it plans to boost inquiries into online security and privacy issues after recent security breaches involving Apple's iPad and Google's Street View cars that collected private data.

The announcement by the FCC on Friday comes a day after the FBI said it had opened an investigation into a security breach of the iPad that exposed personal information of AT&T customers, including several high-ranking federal officials.

The website Gawker first reported the breach that occurred when a group calling itself Goatse Security hacked into AT&T's iPad subscription data, and obtained a list of email addresses that included celebrities, chief executives and politicians.

Joel Gurin, chief of the FCC's consumer and governmental affairs bureau, said in a blog post that the incident appeared to be a classic security breach that has happened to many companies. "Our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is now addressing cyber security as a high priority," Gurin wrote. The communications regulations agency will seek to ensure the safety and security of broadband networks. "We're committed to working with all stakeholders to prevent problems like this in the future," he added.

AT&T, which owns exclusive rights to carry the iPad in the US, acknowledged the breach but said it had corrected the flaw and that only email addresses were exposed to hackers who identified the security weakness. The iPad breach is just the latest incident involving privacy concerns at high-profile companies.

In May, Google reported that its fleet of cars responsible for photographing streets around the world had been accidentally collecting personal data for several years sent by consumers using Wi-Fi connectivity.

Gurin said in a blog post that "Google's behavior also raises important concerns." He said whether the collection was intentional or not, "collecting information sent over Wi-Fi networks clearly infringes on consumer privacy."

He said the Google incident is a reminder that non-encrypted Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to cyber snooping. He urges consumers to read a wireless safety guide issued by the Federal Trade Commission.




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