IL, MA Attorneys General Join Google Inquest

    June 17, 2010

Anyone near one of Google’s offices who’s interested in starting a small business might consider a torch and pitchfork shop.  Privacy groups and authorities of all types continue to look into Google’s WiFi data blunder, with the Attorneys General of Illinois and Massachusetts being the latest to launch investigations.

Lisa Madigan of Illinois and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts actually teamed up, sending Google a joint letter.  Which might be preferable to separate inquiries from the company’s point of view, since it would be simpler to answer to one group of authorities (and/or one lawsuit) than deal with dozens or hundreds of different organizations.

Still, this development hardly counts as good news for Google.  Madigan said in a statement, "My office takes issues concerning privacy and the security of personal information very seriously, and we are investigating Google’s actions to determine whether any laws were broken and what steps must be taken to protect the privacy of Illinois residents."

To that end, Madigan and Coakley have asked the company to describe ("in detail") what sort of information the Street View cars collected and how it’s been handled so far.

One last note: Madigan and Coakley are the second and third attorneys general to begin investigating Google (Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal was first), so we may be seeing the start of a trend at this point.