AG to Google: Hand Over Street View Data

After being stonewalled by Google, Connecticut's Attorney General and Senator-Elect Richard Blumenthal is now taking legal action to force Google to reveal the data the company's Street View cars collected off unprotected wireless networks.

Although Google has allowed international regulators to review the data, which includes passwords and full e-mails, Blumenthal said Google has refused to allow him to review it. So he's using a "civil investigative demand," which is basically a subpoena, to force Google to hand over the data.

"Verifying Google's data snare is crucial to assessing a penalty and assuring no repeat," Blumenthal said in a statement.

Google's response: "As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks. As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all WiFi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities. We did not want and have never used the payload data in any of our products and services. We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns."

In July, Blumenthal began leading a probe (that also included 37 states plus the District of Columbia) into Google's WiFi snooping. At that time, he sent a letter to Google requesting information on the Street View software and on those who were responsible for the software in question.

In 2008, Blumenthal also inserted himself into an investigation into the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership.

About the author

Danny Goodwin formerly was Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch, where he also covered the latest search marketing and industry news. He joined Incisive Media in October 2007, in charge of copy editing columns that appeared on both Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. Prior to a life in the search industry, he worked in the journalism field, working in numerous newsroom positions, before later working as a freelance copy editor.