Wiretapping Case against Google’s Street View

The Paralegal Resource
September 18, 2013 — 1,368 views  
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Recently there has been quite a hue and cry about Google’s Street View and the legality of the whole thing. An appellate court in the States made the decision to allow a wiretapping case against the corporate giant regarding the invasion of privacy that the application causes. Google had admittedly requested a dismissal of the case on the basis that the data that was collected through tapping into available Wi-Fi connections to gather information on the whereabouts was not made public.

Google’s motion dictated that the information was collected accidentally, and the 660 GB of data would be deleted or made private. Many individuals have sued the company in the recent few weeks, stating that this form of data collection violates the Wiretap Act. The Wiretap Act disallows interception of data in an electronic form when done intentionally. The Street View cars are said to have captured information that was transmitted through available and open Wi-Fi connection placed in peoples’ homes and offices. Photographs were said to be a breach of privacy for which the company publicly apologized later.

Invasion of Privacy and Interception of Open Networks

Personal emails, pictures, videos, passwords and documents are among the data that was collected by the company, which is why people have become uneasy. If the company was allowed to continue, it could have acquired a lot more private information, and citizens would have felt very uneasy. Google’s motion was that it stated that the company has not violated any of the country’s laws as it did not collect the data on purpose, nor did it break through the encrypted data.

Rejection of the Company’s Motion by District Court Judge

Also, it was readily available to the public, which means that the company is no longer liable in the court of law. Google also stated that those who wish to keep information private should take more precautionary measures because the data could have been intercepted by anyone as it was available on open networks. A judge of the District Court rejected the company’s argument and said that Google had in fact violated the Act.

The motion was rejected because the corporation took on claims clauses in the Act which were specific to radio communications. The term ‘Wi-Fi connection’ was not available in the documentation and therefore the ruling stood. Also, data available on networks that are open generally stay within the parameters of the location they are set up in, and therefore are not considered public information.

The Paralegal Resource