Blumenthal, states not through with Google

By Keith Loria | Jul 21, 2010


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, on behalf of a 38-state coalition, sent a letter Wednesday to Google.

The letter asks if the company if it had first tested its Street View software that collected data transmitted over wireless computer networks.

Blumenthal alleged last month that Google's Street View cars had illegally collected private information from Connecticut citizens. Google admitted to mistakenly collecting the data -- including e-mails, passwords and other confidential information -- and stopped its Street View program.

The letter also asks Google if the program was designed to collect such information, and if it has sold or used the information that it collected in any way.

"Google's responses continue to generate more questions than they answer," Blumenthal said. "Our powerful multi-state coalition - 38 states so far - is demanding that Google reveal whether it tested Street View software, which should have revealed that it was collecting payload data."

Blumenthal also asks Google to reveal the names of those who were responsible for the snooping, and is seeking information on how the company didn't foresee this happening with the software. Blumenthal has also requested the specifics of where all unauthorized data collection occurred.

"We will take all appropriate steps-including potential legal action if warranted-to obtain complete, comprehensive answers," Blumenthal said.

Seven states are on the executive committee with Connecticut, including Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas. Other states that have signed onto Blumenthal's multi-state coalition include New York, Mississippi, Vermont, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Montana and Rhode Island as well as the District of Columbia. Eight states have declined to be publicly identified because their laws or procedures prohibit the disclosure of investigations.

"Consumers have a right to expect that data transmitted over personal and business wireless networks remains confidential," Blumenthal said. "Our multistate investigation will determine whether laws were broken and whether legislation is necessary to prevent future privacy breaches."

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