back to article 30 states may join probe of Google Wi-Fi snoop

As many as 30 states may investigate Google for surreptitiously sniffing traffic traveling over open Wi-Fi networks over a three-year span, Connecticut's top law-enforcement official said on Monday. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office will lead the multi-state investigation into the unauthorized …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If .......

    Google gets away with this, then we are at the top of a very slippery slope.

    Let us hope that the facts will come out and Google will be held to account - really held to account with prison sentences, if appropriate.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Um no...

      We're already on a slippery slope, courtesy of people who have the potential to ruin your life, ie the State. CCTV monitoring, online surveillance, covert operations against its own citizens, the list goes on.

      They are far more insidious than Google ever will be. Do you honestly believe that if a local police force did what Google had done, they would own up to it?

      Google's founding vision was based on "do no evil". States around the world (increasingly those of the "free" western democracies", sic) seem to base theirs on "whatever evil we can get away with, lie about our knowledge of it, and then some".

      I honestly believe there are some groups on the planet (which includes Google) that are trying to make the world a better place whilst other groups are actively working to make it worse (eg governments, police forces, civil servants) but improve it only for themselves.

  2. Ian Michael Gumby

    Google in spin mode right now...

    "“It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we didn't break any US laws,” a Google spokesman wrote in an email. “We’re working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”"

    Pure bunk.

    They're in plea bargaining phase trying to limit their exposure and do damage control.

    There's the saying that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse' and while that's true, care to bet that they probably also destroyed e-mail messages discussing the legalities of what they did?

    Epic FAIL on the part of Google. Want to bet that because of their cozy ties to the white house that they will get off with a slap on the wrist?

    IMHO the White House's CTO who still has a google mailbox and has communicated outside of proper channels should have his e-mails subpoena 'd.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I, for one... perfectly fine with Google's data collection, and think that privacy laws and the expectation of personal privacy are overrated. I prefer to -not- use TLS when shopping online, and I prefer to leave my 802.11 networks unencrypted. Privacy, folks, is a thing of the past. Long live Google, and I will be writing to my elected officials, as well as starting a grassroots campaign to get at least the state I live in to not participate in this investigation.

    Every one of you in the US should do the same.

    AC because my real name is listed, and my employer is not as progressive as I am.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      even if you were right ...

      ... I think you'd be wrong here. Your grassroots campaign could, perhaps, attempt to get the law changed. And then you could, perhaps, get that change to apply retrospectively. But are you really suggesting that we should just refrain from investigating possible breaches of existing laws because they are ones that we don't agree with?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm not aware of any existing laws in the US preventing this. As I understand it, if you broadcast it openly on the public airwaves, it's there for everyone. I guess radio scanners to listen to the police and ambo bands should be banned as well.

        And to the other poster who replied to me, if you have that little to do that you want to observe what I do for dinner, I've nothing to hide. In fact, I report every aspect of my daily life on Twitter myself already, complete with photos of my BMs.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @AC 8:07: I smell troll fart.

      You have to be trolling, nobody sane would think like that.

    3. Velv

      Where do you draw the line

      What is privacy ?

      Would you like to sit down for dinner with your family, and have complete strangers stand at the window and watch? And report ever mouthful on twitter, facebook or YouTube.

      Would you expect your Doctor to publish your name in his research paper into the most personal of problems you happen to be suffering?

      Just what is acceptable invasion of privacy ?

      EVERY state should participate - if the state think Google is justified then they will be found Not Guilty. Given Google's bad handling of the PR, they KNOW they are guilty.

  4. The_Police!

    Just Imagine

    if Microsoft had done this! There would have been Hell on Earth!

  5. Jim Coleman

    You know what?

    I still maintain, as I always have done, that any company whose corporate mantra is "Do no evil" does evil. Why? Because you would only adopt a mantra like that if you were contemplating the notion of doing evil in the first place.

    No company has the mantra "don't wear frilly knickers" because wearing frilly knickers just doesn't enter their heads as a possible thing to do.

    People have a tendency to deny that which they either do, or desire to do. Evangelical preachers you obsess about gays being the spawn of satan often turn out to be gay themselves.

    Google is evil. Their subversive collection of private data is proof, in case you needed it.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      I prefer 'To Serve Man'

      It's a Twilight Zone Cookbook don't ya know.

  6. Basic


    It's an interesting one - I'm certainly very strongly against Google scooping up all that data but conversely, ppl have been wardriving for years - It's hardly secret information. On top of that, if you're broadcasting it from your house in an unprotected, unencrypted way - Well, wht do you expect?

  7. kain preacher

    John H Woods

    Maybe you can pass retrospectively laws in Europe but not in the the US . But right now google should be worried about the law changing but 30 states suing them.ew few companies have enough money to fight off such an attack. Also Google needs to worry about 30 sate AGs trying to find some that was done illegal. If they cant find it, they might just make up some thing and then force Google to defend them selfs.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    So it's a breech of privacy

    if you're stood shouting out what you're doing and Google went and recorded it as background noise while recording some other bit of information?

    'cos that's the analogy I'd use in court.

    People were sending out unencrypted information into a public place and Google collected it. If they'd been using their massive computing resources to crack encryption on more-secured networks they'd be very much in the wrong. If they'd injected packets into the network they'd be in the wrong.

    But passively listening and recording what people are essentially shouting out? I'd rather they didn't, but I can't see how you could reasonably implement a law for that. Even mining that information seems fair enough- it was freely given and if Google want to waste time mining it then fair play to them.

    I like my privacy. Curtains and gates to the driveway shut at night, nice tall hedge around the garden, encrypted WiFi- and even then it's only used when it's needed; most computers and network enabled devices in the house are connected to the wired network.

    Given the majority of the responses so far, though, I feel I should point out that I make a point of not shouting out my pin number when I'm at the ATM and hoping that no-one listens.

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