Google Denies State's Request to Turn Over Street View Data

By Beecher Tuttle December 20, 2010

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said on Friday that he is considering legal action after learning that Google has refused his request to hand over data that it inadvertently collected from state residents.

Blumenthal issued a civil investigative demand following Google's admittance of breaking major data protection laws when its street-mapping service collected personal information from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in numerous states and countries.

Google has since apologized for the incidents and has said that it never used the confidential information, which included personal emails, passwords and Internet histories. The search engine giant has opened up its books to federal investigators, but seems rather reluctant to do so on a state-by-state basis.

Blumenthal said earlier this year that he would lead a multi-state investigation, and had given Google a Friday deadline to hand over the data that was collected during its Street View mapping project. When that 5 p.m. deadline passed without any word from Google, Blumenthal was prepared with a statement.

"I am disappointed by Google's failure to comply with my information demands," Blumenthal said in an email to InformationWeek on Friday. "We will review any information we receive and consider whether additional enforcement steps -- including possible legal action -- are warranted."

Although Google has yet to offer a reason why it failed to respond to the inquiry, it may be due to the fact that the Federal Communications Commission recently launched its own investigation into the matter. Google has also been under the microscope of the Federal Trade Commission and the UK's Information Commissioner's Office, which recently ruled that the Internet company had committed a "significant breach" of the nation's Data Protection Act.

The commissioner's office decided against imposing a monetary fine against Google after it agreed to delete that information and promise that is would not commit a similar breach again.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

TechZone360 Contributor

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