Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Google faces another lawsuit over WiFi sniffing

Third lawsuit over Google Street View cars' data snooping

Article comments

Google sued over WiFi data snoopingGoogle has been hit with its third lawsuit in the wake of the Internet giant admitting its Street View cars had accidentally collected private data from unsecured wireless networks.

Galaxy Internet Services, an ISP for homes and businesses in Massachusetts, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Google over the search company's admitted blunder that it sniffed and stored data from WiFi networks.

Through its legal representative, Carp Law Offices, Galaxy said on that Google violated US federal and Massachusetts privacy laws when it captured residential and business Web activity data.

The latest claim, filed in Massachusetts, comes on the back of class-action lawsuits filed in California and Oregon. The suits seek damages of at least $10,000 for every instance in which Google took data from unprotected WiFi hotspots.

The claim in Massachusetts alleges Google violated federal and state privacy laws when its fleet of specially equipped vehicles accidentally recorded and stored fragments of web pages and email messages transmitted across people's wireless networks.

Google declined to comment about the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, Google disclosed that its Street View cars, which take photos for services like Google Maps, had since 2006 mistakenly collected "payload data" from WiFi networks they drove by that weren't password-protected.

Google did intentionally record the networks' names (SSIDs) and their routers' unique identifying numbers (MAC), but has stopped doing this. The Internet company maintains it never used any "payload" data in any of its products.

Galaxy filed its lawsuit on its behalf and on behalf of its customers and anyone else similarly affected in Massachusetts, and is seeking class certification.

Galaxy is also requesting that Google be forbidden from destroying the WiFi data it collected and that it be required to pay damages as determined by a jury, along with attorneys' fees.

The US Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz has said the agency will look into the matter.

Google's admission has also sparked an outcry across Europe and Australia, where the Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy condemned Google's WiFi snooping as the "single biggest breach of privacy in history".

Image credit: CC Mark Wallace/Flickr

IDG News Service writer Juan Carlos Perez contributed to this article


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Google Insider said: The sniffing was intentional They are prepping their city wide open wifi networks to go live Soon Google will BE the internet Get ready

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *