The U.S. Supreme Court said it would not consider Google’s challenge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the company of violating federal wiretap law. What did Google do? Its Street View cars collected data from private Wi-Fi networks as they cruised by mapping streets.
Google admitted that its Street View cars collected “payload” data being sent on unsecured Wi-Fi networks as the cars drove by snapping pictures of houses and businesses. What exactly is “payload” data? It included emails, usernames and passwords sent over the Internet.
Wow. If you needed any more incentive to password protect your Wi-Fi network, you have it now.
Google admitted the data collection back in 2010 following a grilling from German authorities. Google insisted the collection was done by mistake. The tech giant said they stopped data collection and no data was used in any service or product.
Google settled with 38 states last year for $7 million. Other governments have initiated probes against Google in response to the collection of Wi-Fi data.
Today’s ruling comes after a class action suit was filed and alleged Google violated the Federal Wiretap Act. This prevents electronic communications from being intercepted. Google argued Wi-Fi transmissions aren’t covered in the act. A federal trial judge along with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Google and refused to dismiss the case.