Feeds

30 states may join probe of Google Wi-Fi snoop

'As many questions as answers'

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.