States Discuss Joint Probe of Google’s Data Collection


By MIGUEL HELFT

Google’s headaches over its collection of private data from Wi-Fi networks are intensifying.

Attorneys general from about 30 states are investigating whether Google violated any laws when vehicles used by the company to snap pictures for the Street View service also collected snippets of personal information sent over unsecured wireless networks. On Thursday, attorneys general from about 30 states participated in a conference call do discuss whether to join forces.

“Violating legitimate expectations of privacy on the part of both homeowners and business people is an extraordinarily serious issue, and we want all the facts as quickly as possible,” Mr. Blumenthal said in a telephone interview. Mr. Blumenthal said the conference call with his counterparts “was the first step in an effort to cooperate in a possible joint investigation and action. At this point, we are asking questions and frankly some of the answers we received so far have raised additional questions that we have put to the company.”

Last month Google revealed that it collected private data like e-mails and other communications from unsecured wireless networks. Since then, the company has faced a deluge of civil and criminal investigations from various European countries as well as Australia. In the United States, the matter has been subject of Congressional inquiries and class action lawsuits in various states.

Google declined to comment on individual investigations or lawsuits. But the company repeated earlier statements that its collection of data from Wi-Fi networks was a mistake but not illegal. “This was a mistake, but we don’t we believe we did anything illegal,” said said Christine Chen, a Google spokeswoman. “We’re working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

Mr. Blumenthal said that about 30 states joined the conference call last week while a number of other states were interested in the issue but unable to participate in the call. He said the states are discussing whether to pool their resources for an investigation “without knowing what action, if any, will be taken. The action will depend on what we find.”

On Tuesday, Richard Brodsky, an New York State assemblyman, asked that state to conduct an investigation into whether Google violated criminal laws. In a letter to Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, Mr. Brodsky asked for a formal investigation into whether Google violated a number of criminal laws, including a statute barring unauthorized intrusions into computers or computer networks. Mr. Brodsky, who authored that statute, is running for state attorney general.

The call was spearheaded by Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s Attorney General, who was among the first to open an investigation into the data gathering by Google.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/states-discussing-joint-investigation-of-googles-wi-fi-data-collection/

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Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

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