Feeds

Google to settle state 'Wi-Spy' spat out of court

Street View data slurp saga rolls on

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google and the state of Connecticut have agreed to settle their despute over the web giant's Street View Wi-Fi payload slurp without going to court.

In December, then Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal hit Google with a Civil Investigative Demand – the equivalent of a subpoena – insisting that the company turn over the Wi-Fi payload its Street View cars collected from insecure Wi-Fi networks in the state. And Google refused to do so. Today, new Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell announced that the state had reached an agreement with Google to settle the matter out of court.

Connecticut also representing a coalition of fifty states in the matter. “This is a good result for the people of Connecticut. The stipulation means we can proceed to negotiate a settlement of the critical privacy issues implicated here without the need for a protracted and costly fight in the courts, although we are ready to do so if we are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement through negotiation,” Jepsen said in a canned statement.

In May, with a blog post, Google said its Street View cars had been collecting payload data from Wi-Fi networks across the globe, contradicting previous assurances by the company. The company said that the data was collected by "mistake" and that the data has not been used in any Google products, and it temporarily grounded its Street View fleet.

After investigations in other countries, Google admitted that it collected URLs and email messages. And it has done the same as part of its agreement with the state of Connecticut. "Google stipulates, for purposes of settlement discussions, that the payload data collected contained URLs of requested Web pages, partial or complete e-mail communications or other information, including confidential and private information the network user was transmitting over the unsecured network while Google’s Street View car was within range," reads a release from the state. "Google also will not contest during settlement negotiations that such private information was collected every day that the Street View cars operated."

The consumer watchdog known as Consumer Watchdog decried today's agreement between Google and the state. "The details of the biggest privacy breach in history shouldn’t be settled in secret,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google Project. “This makes it clear why Google CEO Eric Schmidt needs to testify under oath before Congress about Wi-Spy.” ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.