Google told Congress that it did not use any of the private WiFi data it collected and broke no laws. Even so, Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and his counterparts in many states are looking into whether Google broke U.S. laws by collecting data from WiFi networks, and New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky has asked New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for a formal investigation into whether Google violated criminal laws.
Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and his counterparts
in about 30 states want to know whether Google broke U.S.
laws by collecting data from WiFi networks.
Google's Street View vehicles, a team of cars and vans that rove streets to
map out real-life views of the terrain, accidentally collected 600GB of information
fragments, including data
concerning users' browsing habits and e-mail content.
Google said in a letter to U.S. representatives
June 9 that it
did not use any of the data it collected and broke no laws.
Nevertheless, Blumenthal and his peers discussed in a conference call June
10 whether or not to pool their resources to investigate Google, with
Blumenthal leading the charge, according to the New York Times.
A spokesperson for Blumenthal's office declined to comment, but confirmed
the Times' story to be accurate.
The call came two days after Blumenthal said Google
admitted to collecting WiFi data
from users in Connecticut
from 2008 to 2010.
Blumenthal said in a statement this action was disturbing and demanded
"Google needs to better explain how this practice happened; exactly
when, where and why. Key questions include how Google learned that its software
was gathering unencrypted data and why the company kept the information,"
Blumenthal, who has also challenged Facebook, MySpace and other social
networks over data privacy issues, added, "We will consider the legality
of Google's WiFi collection practices. Google's actions raise troubling and
profound questions about privacy and whether laws need to be clarified or
The Times also said New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky asked Andrew
Cuomo, the New York state
attorney general who is running for governor, for a formal investigation into
whether Google violated criminal laws.
Google is also being taken to task overseas in about 30 other regions where
it collected data. The search engine is turning over data collected
Spain and France.
Google is holding to the company line, telling eWEEK what it has said
several times before: "This was a mistake, but we don't believe we did
anything illegal. We're continuing working with the relevant authorities to
answer their questions and concerns."