U.S. States Gear up to Probe Google's Data Collection Practices

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Six Privacy Principles Google Forgot


As if probes into its Wi-Fi data collection practices from several different countries isn't enough, Google now has a coalition of 30 U.S. states breathing down its neck.


The Wall Street Journal reports Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal is set to lead the charge. He said the group will gather additional information from Google to determine if state laws were violated when the company "inadvertently" collected data from unsecured wireless networks while preparing to launch its Street View service.


Apparently, the investigation is in the earliest of stages, and though only a "core group" of states have formally committed to the effort, more than 30 have expressed interest. Interestingly, Blumenthal did not rebut Google's assertion that it did nothing illegal. Instead, he said the situation may warrant a change to state and/or federal laws. He told the Wall Street Journal:

[Google] certainly acknowledge[s], at the very least, that intercepting and gathering people's data was wrong.


However, I bet he would have a problem with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's claim that no one was hurt by the collection. BBC News quotes Blumenthal this way:

Consumers have a right and a need to know what personal information - which could include e-mails, web browsing and passwords - Google may have collected and why. Google must come clean.


From Blumenthal's perspective, the unauthorized collection itself was the harm.