Feeds

Top cops worldwide grill Google over Wi-Fi snoop

'Possibly illegal'

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Monday became the latest law enforcement official to order Google to give a detailed accounting of the information its Street View cars surreptitiously sniffed from unsecured Wi-Fi networks over a three-year period.

In a letter to Google officials, Blumenthal demanded they provide additional details about the data collection, including what type of information was intercepted, the duration and location of the snooping operation, and where the data is stored now. He joins officials in Missouri, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Australia in ordering the search giant to be more forthcoming about the privacy violation. Google has said it was the result of beta software that was accidentally installed in Street View cars as they snapped pictures in more than 30 countries from 2007 until earlier this year.

“Concealed internet capture by Google's high tech cars may violate valid expectations of privacy – making it possibly illegal,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “If personal data was collected, Google must disclose how widely it was captured, how it was stored, who had access to it and the purpose.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster made similar demands on Friday.

At least seven civil lawsuits have been filed against Google, and agencies in Canada, Australia and throughout Europe have opened investigations. US lawmakers have called on the Federal Trade Commission to conduct its own inquiry.

Google revealed the breach last month in a blog post that omitted key details, including how much data was collected and whether anyone ever looked at it. The company said it segregated the purloined information and was in the process of destroying it. Officials have since agreed to turn over some of the data to officials in Europe.

A Google spokeswoman said company officials are cooperating. "We're working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns," she wrote in an email.

Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, have indicated they are investigating whether Google has broken any criminal laws.

“It is unclear whether Google's conduct violated federal or state law when it intercepted this data,” Missouri AG Koster wrote in a letter to a Google executive on Friday. “But there can be no doubt that the company's conduct implicates the privacy concerns of Missouri residents.” ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.