Google Entangled In 38-State Wi-Fi Snoop Probe

Google is now facing probes by a total of 38 States in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, over its StreetView Wi-Fi data collection. Connecticut's attorney general is now quizzing the search giant on the 'snooping' process.

Google street veiw logo.JPG

37 States, Plus The District Of Columbia
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, who is leading the probe for the 37 States involved and the District of Columbia, sent a letter to Google requesting information on the StreetView software and on those who were responsible for the software in question. He set a Friday (i.e. tomorrow) deadline for getting the answers.

"We will take all appropriate steps -- including potential legal action if warranted -- to obtain complete, comprehensive answers," Blumenthal said in a statement.

Quizzed Google
What the Attorney General wants to know is whether Google had conducted tests prior to using the software and knew it would pick up personal data from unprotected wireless networks. He also wants to find out who inserted the data collection code in the software. Finally, he also wants to be told how many states were affected by the sweeping snoop.

The case took a new twist a couple of weeks ago as Consumer Watchdog revealed that Google had also potentially picked up data from the home networks of members of Congress and Homeland Security officials.

Best Behavior
Google has acknowledged its responsibility and is on its best behavior with authorities, showing its willingness to cooperate. Its spokeswoman, Christine Chen, was quoted by ThomsonReuters as saying: "As we've said before, it was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal."

Stay tuned...

About the author

Liva Judic joined Search Engine Watch and ClickZ in May 2010 as a news blogger. She has lived and worked across the globe in Madagascar, Switzerland, London, NYC, Asia and is now based in between New York and Berlin.

Her background is in government relations and financial media where she started out as a journalist at Bloomberg and became senior editor at AFX news (now part of ThomsonReuters). Prior to forming her own consultancy Judic was head of international PR for a head of state.

Judic focuses on facilitating brand and marketing transitioning for European startups moving to the US. She has been named one of the Top 50 Industry Influencers of 2014 by AGBeat