Google face lawsuits over Wi-Fi Street View data privacy

Google face lawsuits over Wi-Fi Street View data privacy

The fall out continues after Google’s Street View cars were discovered to have been scooping up samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) Wi-Fi networks.

Despite posting a comprehensively grovelling apology, a class action lawsuit has just been filed in Oregon district court claiming privacy violation.

The writ, by Vicki Van Valin and Neil Mertz , claims that their  privacy was violated by the Street View vehicles sniffing about in their Wi-Fi wotsits.

Don’t delete the data!

Google has already said that were embarking on a program to delete the data (presumably without informing the people they took it from), but this could further complicate matters, as destroying evidence in the face of a potential investigation could qualify as obstruction of justice.

Indeed, the claimants are going to court to prevent Google from destroying the data that’s been collected.

Class action

The writ alleges that, “On information and belief, hundreds if not thousands of Google employees throughout the United States and the world have access to data maintained on Google’s servers.”

Under 18 USC §2511 of US law, the plaintiffs and class members are entitled to $100 a day for each day their data was breached, or $10,000 per violation per plaintiff.

The class action affects both Oregon and Washington states, but according to our tipster Simon Owens, there are, “at least 10 statutes that indicate that Google may have been breaking the law, so there could be an FTC or DOJ investigation.”

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