Google faces privacy lawsuit over Street View claims
US court hears service may have violated protection against wiretaps
A judge said Google ‘cannot avail itself’ of exemptions to wiretap law
Google Inc, the world’s most-used search engine, must face claims in a lawsuit that its Street View feature violated protections against wiretapping, a federal appeals court has ruled.
The US Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a judge’s decision not to dismiss the claims, saying wi-fi network data collected by Google is not radio communications that would not be covered by the protections of the US Wiretap Act. “Payload data transmitted over an unencrypted wi-fi network is not ‘readily accessible to the general public’,” Justice Jay Bybee said in a unanimous ruling of a three-judge panel.
“Google cannot avail itself” of exemptions to the wiretap law, he said. An email to Google’s press office seeking comment on the decision wasn’t immediately returned. Google said in May 2010 that it had mistakenly gathered information from open wireless networks. – (Bloomberg)