Feeds

Google to Supremes: End this Street View fight once and for all

Company asks top court to hear appeal, citing danger to common security measures

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

Google is taking the battle over its Street View data collection to the US Supreme Court, seeking a final decision on the legality of its Wi-Fi snooping activity.

The company has filed a petition (obtained by Wired) asking the Supremes to hear its appeal of a decision by the US Ninth Circuit court of appeals.

The case dates back to Google's infamous 2010 data-slurping scandal, in which the company's Street View image-collection vehicles were found to be gathering data from local Wi-Fi networks as they passed by.

While Google said that the collection was accidental and that the collected data was not used by the company and would be destroyed, the incident brought a mountain of litigation to the search advertising giant.

Google faced scrutiny from both state governments and the EU over the matter, and in the UK the company was charged with violating the Data Protection Act. In the US, the company faced charges of violating the US Wiretapping Act which the company is arguing against.

Specifically, Google is arguing against a decision by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which denies the company protection under a portion of the US Wiretap Act, which excludes listening in on radio transmissions.

Google has argued that Wi-Fi data traffic should be protected under the act, while the Ninth Circuit ruled that the protections would only be applicable to "auditory broadcasts." Google is asking the court to hear its appeal, arguing that a ruling could hamper the security industry.

"IT professionals routinely use the same kind of technology as Google's Street View cars did to collect packet data in order to secure company networks," Google said in the filing.

"And unlike Google, which never used the payload data it collected, security professionals also parse and analyze the data collected from wired and wireless networks, including networks operated by other persons or entities, to identify vulnerabilities in and potential attacks on the networks they protect."

That Google has appealed, the ruling does not necessarily mean the case will be argued before the Supreme Court.

The case still faces review in which justices could decline to hear the case and send the matter back to the appeals court. If accepted by the court, a hearing for oral arguments would then need to be scheduled, following which the Supreme Court would render its decision. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
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.