Connecticut AG Presses Google Over Street ViewBy: Mike Sachoff - July 21, 2010
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter today on behalf of 38 states to Google asking it if it had tested its Street View software before using it.
At issue is Google’s unauthorized collection of Wi-Fi data which possibly included emails, passwords, web browsing and other private information. Google has admitted to collecting the data via Street View and called it a mistake.
"If Google tested this software, it should have known all along that Street View cars would snare and collect confidential data from homes across America," Blumenthal said in the letter. "Now the question is how it may have used – and secured – all this private information."
"We are asking Google to identify specific individuals responsible for the snooping code and how Google was unaware that this code allowed the Street View cars to collect data transmitted over WiFi networks. Information we are awaiting includes how the spy software was included in Google’s Street View program and specific locations where unauthorized data collection occurred."
Blumenthal sent the letter as part of the multistate investigation he is leading into Google’s unauthorized collection of data transmitted over Wi-Fi networks.
Blumenthal said that that 38 states and the District of Columbia have formally joined the multistate investigation so far. The executive committee led by Connecticut includes Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas.
"Our partnership – 38 states and counting – will vigorously and aggressively investigate Google’s Street View cars’ unauthorized collection of data transmitted over wireless networks," Blumenthal said. "Google must come completely clean, fully explaining how this invasion of personal privacy happened and why."
"Consumers have a right to expect that data transmitted over personal and business wireless networks remains confidential. Our multistate investigation will determine whether laws were broken and whether legislation is necessary to prevent future privacy breaches."
Other states that have signed onto Blumenthal’s multistate include New York, Mississippi, Vermont, Nebraska, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Montana and Rhode Island.
Eight states have declined to be publicly identified because their laws or procedures prohibit the disclosure of investigations. Blumenthal’s office is asking for permission to name the remaining states and is looking for additional states to join the investigation.