updated 02:45 pm EST, Fri December 17, 2010
CT attorney general threatens further action
Google faces new threats of legal action in the Street View Wi-Fi debacle, after the search giant refused to hand over the collected data to Connecticut authorities. The Department of Consumer Protection last week hit the company with a civil investigative demand for the data, however Google let the Friday deadline pass without submitting to the order.
The blunder has brought the attention of government agencies in the US and a number of other countries, including the UK, Canada, Germany, France and South Korea. British authorities asked Google to delete the personal data within the next nine months to avoid further action, although the government declined to levy a fine.
Reactions in the US have varied by particular states and federal agencies. The FTC dropped its investigation, but an FCC inquiry and several state investigations are still in progress.
Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, has criticized the company for backtracking on its initial statements regarding the severity of the problem. Google first claimed it had caught small pieces of data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks, but later admitted the Street View vehicles obtained passwords, web addresses, e-mail messages and other information.
Google claims the data collection was not intentional, but rather a consequence of experimental code accidentally deployed in its vehicle fleet. The company has since worked to tighten its security protocols, while the Street View vehicles are said to be no longer equipped for Wi-Fi scanning.
"We will review any information we receive and consider whether additional enforcement steps--including possible legal action--are warranted," Blumenthal said. [via Wall Street Journal (sub. required)]