Google had previously admitted that it had mistakenly collected user data from open WiFi networks when it was busy gathering publicly broadcast SSID information and MAC addresses for use in future geolocation services. However, at that time, the tech company defended itself by arguing only fragments of the data were gathered based on the fact data collection occurred five times a second.
However, it seems that this argument by the company failed because now, more than 20 individuals have filed a lawsuit against Google for gathering private data from private Wi-Fi networks through Google’s Street View Cars. The individuals come from a range of areas and hence, the suit was filed in multiple locations including California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Oregon. Each one of them are asking for at least USD$10,000 (RM 35,000) in damages.
Bloomberg has reported that there are two hard drives kept in the federal courthouse in San Francisco that may be the deciding factor in this case. If the people find their information on the drive, we’re talking about much more than thousands in damages from Google. If the information is missing however, then Google walks away without paying a cent as the individuals can’t prove that they were victims of a breach of privacy.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer threw out Google’s initial argument that the federal Wiretap Act didn’t apply to its data collection practices. The judge ordered that the tech tycoon work with the plaintiff’s attorneys to find out what data is in the hard drives. Lawyers on Google’s side refused to hand over the hard drives because the request for access was simply a “fishing expedition” that would just expose private information but the court wouldn’t allow this.
The tech giant has only 28 days to agree that a technical expert come in to review the hard drives or else a magistrate will appoint one to do so.
Source: Android Authority