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Google won’t avoid Street View legal snarl up

Legal case proceeds
Wed Sep 11 2013, 14:51
Google Streetview Red Car

MAPPING OUTFIT Google will have to go to trial over Street View wiretapping.

The firm had appealed the denial of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and had argued that the case was flawed because it was not likely to be tried under the correct laws.

However, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that the case will go ahead. This has caused some disappointment at Google, which made the argument that any collected information would have been "readily accessible to the general public" anyway.

Today a Google spokeswoman said, "We are disappointed in the 9th Circuit's decision and are considering our next steps."

The appeals court said in its ruling (PDF), "The panel affirmed the district court's order denying a motion to dismiss claims that Google, Inc., violated the Wiretap Act when, in the course of capturing its Street View photographs, it collected data from unencrypted WiFi networks.

"The payload data transmitted over unencrypted WiFi networks that was captured by Google included emails, usernames, passwords, images and documents... The district court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss on the basis of the Wiretap Act exemption for electronic communication that is readily accessible to the general public."

Google launched Street View in 2007 and collected and stored "payload data" transmitted by home and business WiFi networks for about three years.

The internet giant acknowledged this in May 2010, publicly apologised and pulled its cars off the streets. According to legal documents Google collected 600GB of data from over 30 countries.

A number of lawsuits against Google were filed. This case is the consolidated legal action in the US. µ


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