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Google Street View WiFi

In 2010, Google alegedly captured a fair amount of data being transmitted over open WiFi access points while the Google Street View car was going about capturing pictures of streets.

Google is being investigated by several governments and has testified beforePDF the US Congress concerning the matter. Several class action lawsuits have been filed in the United States.

  • Berlage v. Google (NDCal filed May 20)
  • Carter v. Google (EDPa filed June 2)
  • Colman v. Google (DCDC filed May 26)
  • Galaxy Internet v. Google (DMass filed May 25)
  • Keyes v. Google (DCDC filed May 28)
  • Redstone v. Google (SDIll filed May 28, 2010)
  • Van Valin v. Google (DOre filed May 17).
  • (Copies of complaints uploaded by Eric Goldman)

    Joel Gurin, Chief of the FCC's Consumer Bureau, stated "Google's behavior also raises important concerns. Whether intentional or not, collecting information sent over WiFi networks clearly infringes on consumer privacy. "

    Alan Eustace, WiFi data collection: An update, THE OFFICIAL GOOGLE BLOG (June 9, 2010) ("When we announced three weeks ago that we had mistakenly included code in our software that collected samples of payload data from WiFi networks, we said we would ask a third party to review the software at issue, how it worked, and what data it gathered. That report, by the security consulting firm Stroz Friedberg, is now complete and was sent to the interested data protection authorities today. In short, it confirms that Google did indeed collect and store payload data from unencrypted WiFi networks, but not from networks that were encrypted.")

    Letter from Pablo Chavez, Director of Public Policy, Google Inc., to Energy and Commerce Committee of the US House of Representatives (June 9, 2010) 


    Northern District of California

    • In re Google Inc. Street View Electronic Communications Litigation, 2011 WL 2571632 (N.D. Cal. July 18, 2011) (Order granting Google's request to certify and staying case)
    • In re Google Inc. St. View Elec. Communs. Litig., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71572 (N.D. Cal. June 29, 2011) (denying Google’s motion to dismiss)
    • "The court ruled that the statutory definition specifically applies to “radio communication” and construed the term “radio communication” narrowly to include only “traditional radio services,” such as “public-directed radio broadcast communication.”52 Since the term “radio communication” was not defined in the Act (as compared to “electronic communication,” which is defined), the court relied on legislative history, indicating that the Congress added the definition in subsection 2510(16) to alleviate radio hobbyists’ concerns and thus only to clarify that “intercepting traditional radio services is not unlawful.”53 The court also reasoned that the five exceptions within section 2510(16) “are drafted for the particular technology of radio broadcast medium and do not address any broader radio-based communications technology."
    • Potnuru, Mani, Limits of Federal Wiretap Act's Ability to Protect Against Wi-Fi Sniffing and the Need for Amendment, p. 12 (December 12, 2011


    Google Fiber



    See also