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

Eight steps to building an 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. ®

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

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
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.