Skip to comments.Supreme Court rejects appeal by Google over Street View data collection
Posted on 07/01/2014 6:10:55 AM PDT by Enlightened1
e U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal by Google over whether it violated federal wiretapping law when its Street View mapping cars collected consumers' personal data.
That leaves intact a federal appeals court ruling that the U.S. Wiretap Act protects the privacy of information on unencrypted in-home Wi-Fi networks and means Google can face lawsuits over the matter, according to a Bloomberg report.
The issue stems from Google's Street View, a comprehensive mapping program that provides images of areas around the world. Google has admitted that its camera-equipped Street View cars inadvertently captured emails, passwords and other data from unprotected wireless networks as they drove by.
In a statement, a Google spokesman said the Mountain View, Calif., company was disappointed that the Supreme Court had declined to hear the case.
In March 2013, Google agreed to pay a $7-million fine for collecting personal data from millions of unsecured wireless networks while operating its Street View fleet. The fine settled an investigation of the data collection by 38 states and the District of Columbia.
As part of that agreement, Google promised to educate employees about the privacy of consumer data and sponsor a public service campaign to teach people how to secure their wireless networks. Google also agreed to destroy the data it collected.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Watch out for a Tidal Wave of law suits against Google.
If your home is on Google "Street view". Google may owe you A LOT of money for violating your privacy rights without your authorization.
This was more about the collection of personal data on unencrypted wireless networks, IIRC. That being said, shame on ANYONE who runs an unencrypted wireless network.
I’ve offered to help numerous neighbors who leave their wireless networks open, and most of them take me up on the offer. In this day and age, it’s imperative that you protect your data with every means possible.
The home being on Street View isn’t the issue; it’s whether they “inadvertently” accessed your wifi router.
Maybe so, but probably you'd PAY a lot to lawyers to get a little.
To IT Freepers: Serious question: Is there any way that this information could have been collected by Google inadvertently, as Google maintains?
I’m not tech savvy. I need a password to get into my wireless for Kindle,but my PC doesn’t need it.
Am I encrypted?
Lead plaintiff: Horseboy
Everybody should check maps that show views of their house. It’s creepy. A person online can zoom in and identify obscured doors, windows, hidden access through back yards (etc). Criminals can use it to look for potential targets.
They will blur your house if you ask them. I did on mine and it wasn’t a problem. Can’t remember the process I went through.
This is why they will blur it out for you if you ask.
although you would have to be a complete friggin idiot to not protect your home wifi connection
This has nothing to do with your home being on Streetview.
FWIW, blurring out one house doesn’t solve the problem of seeing access to ones property.
Yes it does because that serves as evidence they were at your house.
I had my home blurred out. No kidding, the picture they had up you could see my son walking past the front window (not perfectly, but you could tell it was a kid). It was f’ing creepy. If your home is displayed, you can have them at least blur it out.
I learned the hard way about wifi. When my service provider put the wireless router in and gave me the 10 digit string of characters it called the pass code, I didn’t realize that those 10 digits were just the last 10 digits of the MAC address. Evidently it the default password used by many service providers. My neighbor hacked in and used my connection for downloading copyright material.
When I got an email from the provider I checked it out and fixed things, but most people just use the defaults.
Google needs to be slapped around for participating in data collection efforts on citizens for the Feds and giving them unfettered access to our emails. That and trying to play politics and propaganda machine for them as well. Their latest anti- gun stance is making me look for a better search engine. I don’t wantt o use Bing either because I think they’re every bit as data collective and assist the Feds by giving access to your emails too. Nt that I have anything to he’d but I don’t to be a target because someone in Washingon is bored or wants to make an example of a patriot to further a political agenda either.
I'm no expert, but the Google CARS had a set of special cameras designed to provide an 'omni-view' while driving along. So where were these views 'stored' ?
Were they being transmitted back to Google ?
If so, then they had to be using some wireless connection. This means that as they moved away from some 'connection', they would establish a new connection. This would be where the connection to unprotected networks came into play.
HOWEVER, if the GOOGLE CAM communication software was to connect and UPLOAD a streaming set of pictures files (along with GPS coords, addresses, whatever), then it DOES NOT EXPLAIN why it would DOWNLOAD personal data from PC's on the 'home' network' it connected to.
IF the data (pictures) are stored on hardware contained in the vehicle, What reason would the vehicle even have wireless equipment scanning for local networking anyway ?
A more interesting question is, IF Google 'inadvertently' captured private data, WHY DID THEY KEEP IT ?
“Everybody should check maps that show views of their house. Its creepy. A person online can zoom in and identify obscured doors, windows, hidden access through back yards (etc). Criminals can use it to look for potential targets.”
That surprised me to see; this nonsense only ends when the bigwigs in government and industry have their stuff put out there. Ican’t believe there haven’t been rapes and murders assisted by these programs.
Let’s see ... when you take a picture of your kid with your GPS enabled cell phone, do you accidently record the nearby radio stations’ broadcasts as well? Pretty much the same thing. They had to *plan* to capture (and *RECORD*) Wi-Fi data *and* if any testing was done at all (which you *know* it was) then they would have known that they were capturing password info.
> To IT Freepers: Serious question: Is there any way that this information could have been collected by Google inadvertently, as Google maintains?
No it would have had to be intentional and I bet it was done to capture information on browser activity to determine what the tastes / preferences of the household members were. All they’d have to do is access your internet cache, download it, then analyze it by looking at the websites you vsted. After that just sell your name and address to different marketing strategist companies. Sounds like something Google nerds would cook up to make a profit. Of course they would also try to insert human DNA into a tarantula to make them bigger and more intelligent just for the fun of it not realizing they just created something that might wipe out large swaths of the human race.
Liberals - not good at foresight or seeing consequences.
>> Is there any way that this information could have been collected by Google inadvertently, as Google maintains?
No way, no how. There is nothing about taking street level images that in any way requires or benefits from spotty Wi-Fi along the route.
They operated sophisticated sniffers to consciously search out unprotected wifi (and who knows? Maybe even try quick attacks on protected wifi). And once they found such a connection, you bet your butt they snooped around on whatever computers they found on the home net.
News flash: they ALSO operated other kinds of scanners, to discover (for example) what teevee station you are tuned into. Think NSA: they routinely do this. And it CAN be done, by sensing faint harmonics from your teevee tuner’s IF.
Oh yeah, and audio too. Infrared. ANYTHING they can think of.
Their motto may be “don’t be evil” — but Google is EVIL.
There probably have been. Criminals can find good target areas by knowing availability of escape routes.
Hey, maybe they have those missing IRS emails!
“There probably have been. Criminals can find good target areas by knowing availability of escape routes.”
Absolutely; I should have been more specific. I can’t believe it hasn’t arisen in criminal cases that this is being used as a tool.
My house doesn’t need blurring because they didn’t come down my street.
I’m no techie either, but I do recall that our network does not require a password as long as it recognizes the machine when it is plugged in. With a new machine, it requires a password. Our network is encrypted.
Also, check your property tax website. Some have your house plans online. Ours used to have those but took them down.
For a criminal to use such data to facilitate commission of a crime, wouldn’t they still need to know an address to look for? If they already know the address of a potential victim, they don’t need Google to case the place. And if they don’t know the address, Google won’t help them find it.
That’s ridiculous; I couldn’t imagine people tolerating that.
A criminal doesn’t need to know your address. All he has to do is pick a potential neighborhood and start scrolling up and down the streets until he spots a home that looks promising.
“For a criminal to use such data to facilitate commission of a crime, wouldnt they still need to know an address to look for? If they already know the address of a potential victim, they dont need Google to case the place. And if they dont know the address, Google wont help them find it.”
How hard would it be for a co-worker to get your address online? Your HR department already has it. How about any of the countless people that collect such information? A school worker, an employee at a doctor’s office, there are a lot of people that at least know your address.
It’s not Google I’m worried about. It’s the hacker looking for personal information that he can use to steal identities, access bank accounts, apply for credit cards, etc., that is the problem. All a hacker needs to do is drive into any neighborhood and collect the data. People shouldn’t be worried about Google when the problem is their own failure to protect their data!
I will admit that I an a Neanderthal with all the electronic equipment we all have access to.
I do not understand how ANY private information could be gathered by Google if they are only driving by & taking pictures of properties.
IF they have some other type of equipment on board & are getting other information, I would personally sue them out of business.
My wifi router is on the dresser, ha ha.
Which is why they had to take it down. Since one office put it online, you know others have as well. I haven't checked the Way Back Machine to see if it's still out there somewhere but it probably is.
Possibly, but then upon learning this, Google should have corrected it. Google had ample time to correct his, yet did nothing. It then became intentional.
That really is no different than driving to a nice neighborhood and looking for a potential target. Plus, the Google view is a static picture that may be years out of date; it won’t provide information like how many people live there, if the owners are typically home a lot, or if the house is vacant all day, when the owners are on vacation, etc. In other words, the criminal won’t find a target of opportunity by looking at Google street view, and Google street view will not help much with a planned burglary.
In other words, anyone who already knows something about you can get your address. They don’t need Google for that. And if they don’t know you exist, the chance that they will find you with Google street view is minuscule.
Sure, but they can case your property online instead of the riskier proposition of getting caught doing so in person.
Look at the wireless icon on your device. Is there a little lock next to it? If not, then no, you are not.
Most likely if you’re using a password, you’re using some sort of encryption. WEP is very weak and was cracked years ago. Unless you’re using a 15+ character password for WEP, you’re vulnerable. If you’re using WPA, you should be okay for the time being.
They had a wireless device that basically sniffed all of the wireless connections it could find as the car drove through your neighborhood. If you had a wide open wireless network, they captured as much information as possible about your home network: nodes, infrastructure types, MAC addresses, etc.
Are you trolling? Street View is a burglar’s best resource these days. It takes virtually no time, no effort, and no expense; no person or driveway security camera can see you; the pictures are always taken during sunny days; you can also take your time figuring out the quickest way to the nearest interstate on-ramp (for car thieves); and you can easily see what else is and isn’t (police stations) in the neighborhood.
And you won’t get the other information you mentioned — how many people live there, when the owners are home — in person without repeated visits.
It is different. Google eliminates the need to drive around a nice neighborhood and risk being seen. Street View lets the criminals scout out potential targets from the privacy and comfort of their mama’s basements.
You should NEVER TRUST anybody, group, business, govt, entity that steals ANYTHING from you period.
If they had respect for you, then they would not try to take it behind your back.
If you worked with someone that you liked and they stole from you. Say you caught them stealing and lying to you. You mean to tell me you would STILL TRUST THEM????
“Look at the wireless icon on your device. Is there a little lock next to it? If not, then no, you are not.”
No lock,so I guess I’m not.
Thanks——the PC I’m using is the one I had when I had the wireless installed.
I’ll have to pursue this further.
Lordy,things are complicated now. I remember when we had a dimmer switch installed in our dining room and I thought it was an absolute miracle. :-)
Put your neighbors address in this website and tell me if you are surprised.
I reckun the penalty should be the seizure of GooGle and the distribution of all profits derived by stealing data to all legal homeowners of this land for how many years now?
Weird cuz my new neighbor is a Goog noob.. you can see his and my house.. for a fee. ;-}