Feeds

38 states grill Google on three-year Wi-Fi slurp

More questions than answers, official says

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A coalition of 38 US states has called on Google to explain in detail how Wi-Fi-sniffing software that surreptitiously collected data over wireless networks was included in its fleet of Street View cars.

“We are asking Google to identify specific individuals responsible for the snooping code and how Google was unaware that this code allowed the Street View cars to collect data broadcast over WiFI networks,” Richard Blumenthal, attorney general of Connecticut, said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Information we are awaiting includes how the spy software was included in Google's Street View network and specific locations where unauthorized data collection occurred.”

Blumenthal said 38 states and the District of Columbia have formally joined the probe into the Street View sniffing debacle, which collected snippets of traffic traveling over open Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries over a three-year period. In addition to Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Texas are on the coalition's executive committee. The investigation aims to determine whether any laws were broken and whether legislation is needed to prevent similar episodes in the future.

For years, Google said network SSIDs and device MAC addresses were the only Wi-Fi data recorded under its Street View program. Then, in mid May, Google disclosed the Google disclosed that cars collected payloads from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks that were within range of its Street View cars and said the software that was responsible was included by accident. The company reiterated those claims on Wednesday.

“As we’ve said before, it was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal,” a Google spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We’re continuing to work with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

In his statement, Blumenthal added: “Google's responses continue to generate more questions than they answer.”

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. Blumenthal said he is actively recruiting additional states to join the coalition. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.