Feeds

30 states may join probe of Google Wi-Fi snoop

'As many questions as answers'

The essential guide to IT transformation

As many as 30 states may investigate Google for surreptitiously sniffing traffic traveling over open Wi-Fi networks over a three-year span, Connecticut's top law-enforcement official said on Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office will lead the multi-state investigation into the unauthorized data collection by Google Street View cars. A “significant number of states” are expected to participate, according to a press release issued by his office that claimed representatives from more than 30 states joined a recent telephone conference call to discuss the probe.

“While we hope Google will continue to cooperate, its response so far raises as many questions as it answers,” Blumenthal said in the release. “The company must provide a complete and comprehensive explanation of how this unauthorized data collection happened, why the information was kept if collection was inadvertent and what action will prevent a recurrence.”

In mid May, Google disclosed that its Street View cars in more than 30 countries routinely sniffed the payloads of unencrypted Wi-Fi networks within range of their sensors. The disclosure contradicted previous assurances that only network SSIDs and device MAC addresses were recorded. Google said the sniffing was accidental and was the result of experimental code that was inadvertently added to the Street View fleet.

Google has since come under criticism for failing to answer questions such as what kind of information was collected and who may have had access to it. At least seven civil lawsuits have been filed against Google over the Street View snooping, 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.

“It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we didn't break any US laws,” a Google spokesman wrote in an email. “We’re working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

Blumenthal didn't name the other states that participated in the conference call. The press release is here. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.