The attorney general from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has demanded that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) turn over WiFi data the company collected in his state from Street View cars. The move represents more fallout from Google's admission earlier this year that it unknowingly collected WiFi payload data from access points that might have included personal information. Last month Google admitted that the information included entire email addresses, web addresses and passwords.
"We need to verify what confidential information the company surreptitiously and wrongfully collected and stored," Blumenthal said in a release. "We are compelling the company to grant my office access to data to determine whether emails, passwords, web-browsing and other information was improperly intercepted, for the same reasons that other law enforcement agencies abroad have done so. Reviewing this information is vital because Google's story changed, first claiming only fragments were collected, then acknowledging entire emails.
Blumenthal indicated that he has issued, in cooperation with the state's Department of Consumer Protection, a civil investigative complaint that compels Google to hand over the data by Dec. 17.
Blumenthal added that Google has allowed Canadian and other regulatory authorities to review similar data, but has refused to provide Blumenthal's office the same access.
In the U.S., The Federal Trade Commission halted its inquiry with no action taken, but now the FCC wants to find out if any laws were violated. The FTC concluded that Google had implemented enough new privacy standards to ensure that it won't use the collected data.
Google, in fact, has indicated that it has made several changes to its privacy standards, including appointing Alma Whitten to serve as Google's director of privacy, enhancing its core privacy training for engineers and other and adding another step in its existing review process.
Google has indicated it has no plans to resurrect its Street View cars.
- see this PC Mag article
- see this release
Google's Street View cars done for good
FTC backs off Google Street View inquiry
Google admits to collecting WiFi payload data by mistake