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Google Street View stumbles onto some legal issues

Google just doesn’t seem to be getting along with how their Street View service interacts with the long arm of the law. The most recent of legal issues are back at home and involve charges of wire tapping.

Ever since Google admitted to some privacy breaches by their Street View cars, a snowball effect seems to have hit their actions and everybody is checking into the way the Internet giant is conducting this photo collection business.

Since the EU Investigation, the deletion of the wifi collected data and the fan attacks on people who opted out of Street View things have been rather quiet.

Recently however, a San Francisco judge decided that in their actions with Street View, Google opened themselves to accusations of wire tapping, a serious violation of federal laws.

Google Street View car

Google Street View car

The problem however doesn’t refer to something new, but on the contrary, the actions that were uncovered in Europe. Before Google stopped their Street View cars from logging WiFi data they had collected a consistent amount of security information in several countries.

Total amount of data stored by what’s claimed to be a code error by Google’s cars amounts to 600MB. That may not sound like a lot but let’s remember that this isn’t a few minutes of HD clips, this is stuff like passwords and other valuable info that was collected from more than 30 countries.

Google’s claim to fend for themselves is that the networks from which this sort of data was collected were not encrypted whereas the counter is that even though it was this sort of networks that doesn’t make them all generally available to the public.

This is a bit of a technicality, the real problem is where Google used high performance specialist hardware for this sort of collection, thus making itself liable against the new wire tapping charges.

It will be a very interesting affair and the only thing certain about is that if Google looses out this trial they will have to dish out considerably more for the class action suit than the 100.000 euro fine they got in France.


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