Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

Summary: The state of Connecticut wants to know what sort of information Google's Street View cars collected from its residents and has issued the equivalent of a subpoena to get its hands on the data.The civil investigative demand, which was issued today, according to reports, gives Google until December 17 to hand over the data so that the state can determine if Google broke any of its laws.

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The state of Connecticut wants to know what sort of information Google's Street View cars collected from its residents and has issued the equivalent of a subpoena to get its hands on the data.

The civil investigative demand, which was issued today, according to reports, gives Google until December 17 to hand over the data so that the state can determine if Google broke any of its laws. In October, the Federal Trade Commission closed its inquiry over the collection of data from unsecured wireless networks because it was satisfied that the company had improved its privacy practices.

Still, other U.S. states and other countries aren't satisfied and are conducting their own investigations. In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said:

We need to verify what confidential information the company surreptitiously and wrongfully collected and stored. We are compelling the company to grant my office access to data to determine whether emails, passwords, web-browsing and other information was improperly intercepted, for the same reasons that other law enforcement agencies abroad have done so. Reviewing this information is vital because Google's story changed, first claiming only fragments were collected, then acknowledging entire emails.

The company has refused requests from Blumenthal's office, despite allowing other governments, including Canada, access to the data. In a statement, a Google spokesperson said:

We did not want and have never used the payload data in any of our products and services. We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns.

Topics: Government US, Collaboration, Google, Government, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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22 comments
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  • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

    I honestly don't get it. If you are broadcasting your open, unsecured wireless network, why should you have any right to privacy? Anyone can walk by and get access.

    So stupid.
    Droid101
    • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

      h t t p : / / 0 8 4 5 . c o m / 1 o 3

      I tide fashion
      dfgjhjh
  • I agree with Droid101

    I thought this day might never come, but I agree. Broadcasting over an open radio signal removes expectation of privacy. In fact, there is long precedent in the USA that anyone is permitted to listen in on any transmission on the open airwaves, hence all the police and fire scanners that were so popular when I was a kid.

    If there is any culpability here it would be on the service providers who set up open WiFi in peoples' homes without warning them that it is unprotected. This assumes that the providers actually set up the network. Individuals who just installed WiFi without doing any research have only their own self-inflicted ignorance to blame.
    use_what_works_4_U
    • Broadcast

      @macadam Correct. Any broadcast signal can be listened to by any person...I believe a fact in law, certainly in Canada.
      Bradish1
  • AG inspection

    The AG wants to 'inspect' your data to see if any privacy laws have been broken. If the law has been broken then the government is using data they have no right to look at without serving a subpoena on the owner. Catch-22. Who looks at the data, how is it safe guarded, and if it is private and is allowed to escape do we arrest the AG?
    lars626
    • No, cause the govt doesnt have to follow its own laws!

      @lars626
      otaddy
    • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

      @lars626
      What a ridiculous post. That is like saying the police are guilty of theft for intercepting stolen property and holding it for the owner. Nor is it even close to technically accurate. The government most certainly CAN determine if passwords and e-mail messages were intercepted WITHOUT actually viewing those passwords and message content.
      Not that they have a case, being that the data was obtained from open networks.
      DeusXMachina
      • lars626 is ultimately correct

        @DeusXMachina He didn't provide a single detail to hang a hat on, but no doubt his statement comes from a lot of observation.

        Being he didn't provide any context, your example, though correct in and of itself, is inapplicable to the assertion "government doesn't have to follow it's own laws."

        The recent Monsanto bailout "food safety" bill is an example of where, if congress can't "by law" cram that bill through, they simple "pass a law" making the previously "illegal" procedure 'legal."

        In 99% of the cases where govt "breaks the law" they legitimize themselves by whatever agency issuing "rules" or "regulations." In these cases they remain "illegal" on the books, as if an agency (or court for that matter) can negate "laws" with self indulgent proclamations.

        Then there are the courts themselves. They fudge "law," violate their own rules and procedures and step way beyond any nexus, venue or jurisdiction as a matter of normal operations.

        The most money usually wins, and in many cases the results are so blatantly illegal, dictatorial, one wonders if there is in fact any "law" in effect.

        The smaller you are, the nasty the state "enforcement" of it's "laws" upon you. Here's one for you: statutes, codes, rules, regulations and agencies are NOT "law," they do not make "law" and they do not operate on any "law."

        Lawyers. We'd all be better of barring their existence.
        pgit
  • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

    The Catch-22 is the more who view the data the more not secured it becomes. Just del the data
    cybursoft
  • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

    waves @ Between the Lines
    Larry Dignan, Sam Diaz, Andrew Nusca
    The Catch-22 is the more who view the data the more not secured it becomes. Just del the data
    cybursoft
  • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

    @ ack sorry fatigue kicking in :)
    cybursoft
  • it's so simple...

    Anything that you can see for the street or is broadcasted un encrypted IS NOT PRIVATE PERIOD.
    google is a big money bag and it attract low-life (lawyers) and scumbag (politiciens) the world over. As soon as someone is trying to sue google over street view, he should be instantly jailed for trying to abuse the justice system.
    Mectron
    • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

      @Mectron "Anything that you can see for the street or is broadcasted un encrypted IS NOT PRIVATE PERIOD."

      No, just because the wireless is not secure does not make it public. Telephone lines are also not secure, as anyone possessing the proper equiptment can tap into a line and listen in. This is illegal wiretapping, and the same applies to wireless signals. You are confusing legality with ability. Anyone with a wireless card has the ABILITY to access unsecured networks, but this does not by default give them the LEGAL right to do so.

      By that measure, if it were legal to access someones unsecure wireless, then it would also be legal to open their mailbox, and take their mail, open their car door and take their radio, or walk into a house that was unlocked and take anything they please.

      Anyone that truely beleives that open wireless equals public domain needs to take a course in ethics.

      And if you work in IT and think it is legal to do so, you should choose a new field.
      ShadowGIATL
      • Well...

        @ShadowGIATL
        The problem is that you're mixing your technologies. It is illegal to break into a mailbox and illegal to break into a car because it requires a physical presence. It is not illegal for me to listen in on my neighbor's conversation with a glass to the wall (sketchy and unethical, yes). The signal is being broadcast over public airwaves, into a public area, I fail to see a problem.
        coprenicuz
      • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

        @coprenicuz

        actually the legal charge is eavesdropping for listening with a cup to the wall.

        where you would be on safer legal ground is if you are listening from the sidewalk to a conversation shouted at the top of their lungs.

        the notable difference is you are deliberately listening to a conversation not intended for your ears with the glass to the wall. with the shouted conversation, you are merely present, and would have to be deaf to not here it
        erik.soderquist
      • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

        I probably chose a bad example, but the core (at least I believe) remains true. A neighbor broadcasting an FM radio station has no expectation of privacy, a man preaching on a street corner has no expectation of privacy. If you're on a CB radio and shout every 2 minutes that you don't want anybody listening in on your conversation, you may have made your intentions known but you still should not have an expectation of privacy.

        Anybody tech person dumb/idealistic enough to leave their wifi unencrypted is either running a honeypot or is begging for people to use their network.
        coprenicuz
      • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

        @coprenicuz

        this is getting into a grey-ish area unfortunately... the glass to the wall and standing on the sidewalk hearing a shouted argument are very obvious cut and dry examples requiring no technology whatsoever. the human body is capable of both without any outside aids

        most non-tech people don't even fully grasp why SSL is a good idea for online purchases, they just know they have been told by "people who know" that they should make sure the padlock in the browser shows locked. many of these same people also mistakenly think that ordering via a phone call is more secure than an SSL encrypted online shopping cart.

        having accidentally "tapped" phone lines with nothing more than an inductive tone tracer while tracing wiring feeds, i can say without hesitation that it is far easier to tap a phone line to get a credit card number than it is to get that credit card number from an SSL encrypted session.

        but i digress.

        the question at hand in this discussion is "does the need for wireless sniffing gear constitute having to take explicit action to listen to the conversation?"

        encrypted or not, i can't just stand on the sidewalk and "listen" to whatever traffic is going across the wireless network, the human body simply isn't capable of hearing it. if i am really only looking for AP MAC addresses for geolocation applications, and accidentally hear someone's unencrypted transmission, am i "standing on the sidewalk" or "holding a glass to the wall"? as far as i know, there has not yet been a case decided, so there is no court precedent to reference...

        at some point intent also has to come into play, and if found to be at fault and liable, precisely who is liable also comes into question. from a purely technical standpoint, the poor guy driving the car would be the one to have actively done the sniffing, but most likely the driver doesn't even know what it's doing. the driver only knows they pay for him to drive a specific route

        at some level the true intent has to come into play...

        lots of grey...
        erik.soderquist
  • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

    No such "confidential information" on an unsecure not protected network. If people are stupid enough to leave their network open, it is just too bad.
    minardi
  • While I agree that

    any unsecured networks are not private, the question remains, why were Google Street View cars collecting wireless data to begin with? What does that have to do with taking photographs of the surrounding area?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Connecticut AG demands Street View data from Google

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      This has been reported on ad nauseam. Google was collecting WiFi grid data as part of a geolocation project, as well as for other similar endeavors.
      DeusXMachina