Judge orders Google to hand over private WiFi data

Google is facing more fallout from its admission that it unwittingly collected personal WiFi information on open networks through its Google Street View program.

A federal judge has ordered Google to hand over copies of the private data. The data will be kept under seal in case it is rules as admissible evidence in lawsuits filed against the search giant. Oregon and several other states are demanding millions in damages over Google's action, claiming the company violated federal and local privacy laws.

Google has claimed that it has never used any of the data in its Google products. Google's admission came after the data protection authority (DPA) in Hamburg, Germany asked Google to audit the WiFi data its Street View cars collect for use in its location products. Google said it has typically collected just fragments of payload data since its cars are on the move, someone would need to be using the network as a car passed by and Google's in-car equipment automatically changes channels about five times a second. 

Google has now decided to stop its Street View cars from collecting WiFi network data altogether. Now it is coming under fire in the form of lawsuits and governmental scrutiny.

For more:
- see this AFP article

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