Google Takes “SpyView” Wiretapping Appeal To SCOTUS

Google Street View car Google seeks US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) review of a US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which affirmed a lower court denial of Google's motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought after the 2010 Street View private "payload data" capture revelations. Plaintiffs argue that Google violated the federal "Wiretap Act" when it intercepted their private email and other communications during Street View data collection. The Wiretap Act makes it illegal to “intentionally intercept . . . any wire, oral, or electronic communication" and to "use or disclose information that is obtained [...]

Appeals Court Blocks Google Effort To Exit “SpyView” Case

google-legal-law The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling denying Google's motion to dismiss a class action brought after the 2010 Street View private "payload data" capture revelations. The plaintiff class asserted that Google violated the federal Wiretap Act when it intercepted private email and other communications. The Wiretap Act makes it illegal for anyone to “intentionally intercept . . . any wire, oral, or electronic communication.” It's also illegal to "use or disclose information that is obtained through such an illegal wiretap." Google argued that unencrypted pri [...]

Google Has 35 Days To Delete UK “SpyView” Data Or Face “Criminal Action”

google-street-view-car The UK data protection authority Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served notice that Google must destroy personal information obtained from its Street View WiFi "payload" data collection within 35 days. While Google has a right to appeal the decision, a refusal to comply (absent an appeal) is considered a "criminal office" and could result in prosecution. The ICO letter (.pdf and below) is dated June 11, so the deadline would be mid-July. This ultimatum is the culmination of a UK investigation that began in 2010 following the "WiSpy" revelations that launched investigations [...]

Whoops: Google Admits It Still Has Some WiFi Payload Data Collected Via Street View Cars

google-street-view-car Despite assurances to the contrary, Google told the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) today that it still has some of the WiFi payload data that it's Street View cars collected in 2010. That data may include personal information such as usernames, passwords and email addresses that Google collected via unsecured WiFi networks. Google's collection of such data has sparked numerous governmental investigations around the world -- some of which are still in progress. Google had previously promised the UK government and public that it had deleted all of the data. But Google attorne [...]

UK Privacy Regulator Reopens “Wi-Spy” Investigation Because Of FCC Findings Of Intentional Conduct By Google

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was mulling whether to reopen the Google Street View "Wi-Spy" investigation. This was prompted by the US Federal Communications Commission report that found the collection of so-called consumer payload data by Google was intentional. The ICO investigation has now been reopened, accordingly. The original 2010 investigation was closed without any penalty being assessed against Google. But the subsequent finding of intentional conduct by Google and executive knowledge of the capture of payload data was sufficient to justify reopening the inve [...]

Google Compromises End Street View Litigation In Switz, Book Suit In France

Last week Google notched a major victory for Street View in Europe. The Swiss have affirmed its basic right to exist in the country, which is widely regarded to have among the toughest privacy laws on The Continent. The Swiss privacy regulator had demanded that Google guarantee it would be able to blur faces, car license plates and other images with complete accuracy, 100 percent of the time. That requirement was seen as a threat to Google's ability to continue to operate Street View in Switzerland -- because it could only blur faces (etc.) with 99 percent accuracy. In what was described [...]

UK, Australia May Reopen Street View Privacy Probes After FCC Report

google-street-view-car Governments that had previously closed the book on Street View privacy investigations appear to be considering "round two," in the wake of the FCC report that asserted that the personal data collected was not inadvertent but intentional. Privacy regulators in both the UK and Australia are now considering reopening Street View privacy cases that were previously closed. Several other European nations had concluded similar investigations with either no penalties or relatively minor fines assessed against Google. Those generally favorable outcomes for Google were largely based on earlier sta [...]

Identity Of “Wi-Spy” Google Engineer Revealed In Scandal That Won’t Go Away

Google's desire to put the so-called Wi-Spy scandal to bed by releasing an unredacted copy of the recent FCC report on the matter has done the opposite. It showed that the capture of a broad array of "consumer payload" data was intended and that multiple people at the company were informed of the practice. Accordingly it has fueled unflattering coverage that plays into the company's growing "Big Brother" image. In the latest installment of the saga, the New York Times earlier today reported that the "rogue engineer" who was responsible for writing the code to grab the payload data has been [...]

Unredacted FCC Report Shows Google’s “Wi-Spy” Consumer Data Capture Was Intentional

google-street-view-car Two weeks ago the FCC released a document that asserted Google had obstructed its investigation into whether Street View WiFi mapping and related consumer "payload data" capture had violated Federal wiretapping laws. It imposed a $25,000 fine for Google's "forfeiture" (non-compliance with the investigation) but held that there was no legal liability under the federal law. The heavily redacted FCC document raised numerous questions. Among them: why would Google resist the FCC's investigation, was it hiding something? Google has denied obstructing investigation Last week Google pushed back [...]

Google Street View “Wi-Spy” Investigation Closed With $25,000 Penalty

Bloomberg reports that the Street View WiFi eavesdropping investigation by the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) against Google has now been officially closed after Google agreed to pay $25,000. On April 13, the FCC proposed a $25,000 fine against Google for “willfully and repeatedly” not cooperating with its investigation. There was no finding of legal liability against Google however. The $25,000 fine was more an expression of frustration and displeasure by the FCC. Google rebuked the FCC in a filing yesterday that argued it had responded appropriately and in good faith t [...]

FCC Clears Google Over Wifi Eavesdropping But Fines It $25,000 For “Noncompliance” With Requests

google-privacy-200 The US Federal Communications Commission has cleared Google of any legal wrong-doing over its Street View cars that intercepted wifi transmissions. That's the good news for the company. The bad news? The FCC is fining Google $25,000 for "willfully and repeatedly" not cooperating with the investigation. The StreetView Wifi Eavesdropping In 2010, it was discovered that Google's Street View cars were doing more than just taking pictures. They were also gathering information about wifi locations, meant in part as a way for Google to better locate people using services such as Android phones or s [...]

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