New Haven Register: Blumenthal probes whether Google illegally gathered data

Many marvel at how accurately Google Maps depict neighborhoods and cities, but Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is investigating whether the “Street View” cars the Internet giant uses to capture images for the maps are illegally collecting data from consumers’ and business’ computers via wireless networks.

Blumenthal said Monday he has written to Matt Sucherman, vice president and deputy general counsel at the California-based company, asking whether Google collected personal information transmitted over wireless networks without permission while it was photographing streets and homes in Connecticut.

Last month the company acknowledged its Street View cars in some locations have intercepted information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries. Company officials said they discovered the problem when regulators in Germany launched an inquiry.

Also last month, Michigan Democrat John Conyers, the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in the U.S., sent letters to Google as well as Facebook, asking them to cooperate with any government inquiries regarding privacy.

On Sunday, Australia announced a police investigation into the matter.

Google officials on Monday, in response to Blumenthal’s inquiry, released a brief statement that said, “We’re continuing to work with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

Blumenthal said he is demanding Google disclose any Wi-Fi data collection that took place in Connecticut, detailing what was collected, when, where and why.

Read the whole article >>