Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said June 21 that his office will lead a multistate investigation into Google's accidental collection of data from unsecure wireless networks. Blumenthal, who has naturally taken a strong interest into what kind of data was collected in his home state of Connecticut and in what towns, said that while he hopes Google continues to cooperate, its answers to his questions raised "as many questions as it answers."
Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said June 21 that his
office will lead a multistate investigation into Google's accidental collection
of data from unsecure wireless networks.
In the latest in a series of actions against the company for accidentally
sucking up users' e-mails, passwords and Web browsing data, Blumenthal will
lead the charge for as many as 30 states. Blumenthal also wants more
information from Google about what data it collected and how this happened.
"Street View cannot mean Complete View-invading home and business
computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and
communications," Blumenthal said
in a statement June 21. "Consumers have a right and a need to know what
personal information ... Google may have collected, how and why.
"Our investigation will consider whether laws may have been broken and
whether changes to state and federal statutes may be necessary."
May 14 that its Street View cars had stored 600GB
of WiFi network payload data for the last three years in more than 30 countries
and regions all over the world.
The data storage happened as the result of rogue code a Google programmer
placed on the company's servers, and Google has been working with affected
countries to delete the data or at least disclose what data was collected in
Blumenthal and his counterparts in more than 30 states convened
via conference call June 10 to discuss whether or not
to pool their resources to investigate Google. They wondered whether Google
broke U.S. laws
by collecting data from WiFi networks.
in a letter to U.S.
representatives June 9 that it did not use any of the data it collected and
broke no laws. A Google spokesperson reiterated that position to eWEEK June 21.
"It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected
payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal. We're working with the
relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns."
Blumenthal, who has naturally taken a strong interest into what kind of data
was collected in his home state of Connecticut and in what towns, said that
while he hopes Google continues to cooperate, its answers to his questions
raised "as many questions as it answers."
He called for the company to provide a comprehensive explanation of how this
data collection happened, why the information was kept and what action will
prevent a recurrence.
"Google needs to describe how code that intercepted and collected
unencrypted data transmitted over WiFi networks was inserted into its
software," Blumenthal said. "We want to know who did this, why and
how and when Google discovered it. Another concern is whether the data was
accessed in any way by Google and if so when and why."
Google, which has a third-party consultant investigating the code used to
collect the data in the country, is under fire
from data privacy authorities in Germany,
Spain and France.