Internet Law

Up to 30 State AGs Plan Joint Probe of Google Street View Data Intercepts


The top law enforcement officers for more than 30 states are considering a cooperative investigation of possible privacy and wiretap law violations by Google as its workers were driving around collecting photos and data for its Street View search engine feature.

Led by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the group of attorneys general would pool the states’ resources to determine exactly what happened and whether laws need to be updated to prevent a recurrence, according to the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

“Consumers have a right and a need to know what personal information—which could include e-mails, Web browsing and passwords—Google may have collected, how and why,” as well as why the data was retained, Blumenthal said.

In response to Blumenthal’s announcement of the probe, a Google spokeswoman says the company did nothing illegal and is “working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns,” reports the Associated Press.

The California-based Google announced last month that it had inadvertently collected Wi-Fi data from unencrypted networks in 30 countries for three years, but said it had stopped doing so after realizing the error and was ready to destroy the data in accord with regulators’ requirements.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Google in Potential Showdown Over Wi-Fi Data Debacle; ‘No Harm, No Foul,’ Says CEO”

Bloomberg: “States Probe Google Data-Gathering, Blumenthal Says”

PC Magazine: “Conn. to Lead Inquiry into Google’s Wi-Fi Sniffing”

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