Privacy Group Accuses Google Of “Criminal Act”

    June 9, 2010

According to Privacy International, the whole Street View/WiFi data mess wasn’t caused by someone accidentally copying and pasting the wrong code.  Neither was a single rogue engineer to blame.  Privacy International, a nonprofit organization that’s been around since 1990, instead asserted today that Google demonstrated "criminal intent."

It seems Google’s decision to have a third party conduct an audit didn’t work out in its favor.  Stroz Friedberg, the consulting and technical services firm Google hired, produced a 23-page document (available here if you can stand the technical language), and it’s that report that Privacy International is using as evidence.

Privacy International wrote, "This analysis establishes that Google did, beyond reasonable doubt, have intent to systematically intercept and record the content of communications and thus places the company at risk of criminal prosecution in almost all the 30 jurisdictions in which the system was used."

It then went on to use stronger language, saying the collection of data was "a criminal act commissioned with intent to breach the privacy of communications."

And the BBC reported that Simon Davies, the head of Privacy International (which is based in the UK), even intends to contact Scotland Yard himself.

It may be time for Google’s lawyers to start renewing their passports and dusting off their suitcases.