back to article Google to settle state 'Wi-Spy' spat out of court

Google and the state of Connecticut have agreed to settle their despute over the web giant's Street View Wi-Fi payload slurp without going to court. In December, then Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal hit Google with a Civil Investigative Demand – the equivalent of a subpoena – insisting that the company turn …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Justice prevails...

    So once again a company with an almost limitless cash supply and dreams of total domination of the world's information have had their global-scale wardriving efforts validated. Apparently it's now ok that they did it. As the state of Connecticut is acting in the interests of the people, I assume that the terms of this settlement are going to be disclosed and someone can do a per-person breakdown of exactly what the state charges when selling the privacy of the people it represents?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re : "Justice prevails..."

      Quite agree. It's a disappointing climb down on the part of the State(s). Mind you, they've only agreed to settle it outside and it could go back to court if Google don't play fair.

      I hope that Google are at least forced to declare that they were wrong, that the people responsible have been disciplined (preferably fired - and I mean whoever instructed the engineers to put this capability in in the first place), and to securely destroy the data - NOT hand it over to anyone.

    2. Oninoshiko

      Uhh what?

      Did we read the same article? Google admitted to the court that they collected all manner of traffic, includeing URLs, partial and complete web pages, partial and complete emails and other confidental communications. At this point the options where hand over the results of (presumably) illeagal wiretaps which would make MORE know about the content of them (thereby making it more of a privacy violation), or just fess up and say "we did it, we are sorry, and will face the consiquences of our actions" and distroy the data (limiting it to just the damage already done).

      I, for one, applaud googles admission of being wrong and acceptence of the consiquences, rather then worsen the effects of the act by trying to hide it.

      1. 32holes

        it's not.....

        For me it is the fact that they are paying their way out without an admission of guilt since google has deep pockets and it wont make a blind bit of difference to them if they can say they did not thing wrong.

        Settling out of court means most certainly that you still get to say that you did nothing wrong. I want to see those terms that the state of CON agreed to and i bet a million buck that we wont.

  2. JaitcH

    Another greedy party wanting a bit of Googles action

    So damn simple - turn the WiFi password on - whatever good it will do given all the hacks that are floating around.

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      Ladies and gentlemen

      Witness JaitcH offering his undivided and unlimited personal unpaid time until the day he dies explaining to everyone who doesn't understand how a Wifi router works exactly how to configure a password. Either it’s so simple that anyone can do it without help and thus they will never call on JaitcH.


  3. Ubuntu Is a Better Slide Rule

    Now Hit the "SETI" Guys

    b/c what they do is private SIGINT under "scientific research disguise".

  4. Tzael
    Thumb Down

    Score for joe public - not...

    "the state had reached an agreement with Google to settle the matter out of court"

    How convenient...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why settle out of court?

    So, why settle out of court? The entire weight of the judicial system should be thrown at Google. Oh wait, that would greatly decrease the size of envelops delivered to those who get to make these decisions.

    I mean, it's not like this is the first time Google has had this "problem". So, how could it be considered accidental? Why are they allowed to continue? A company that acts in this manner should broken up and sold off, as should companies that send out rootkits. They are obviously not acting in the general publics favour and there's the issue really.

    Perhaps Google has become that important to the powers that be and that should frighten all of us.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      this isn't a 'brown envelopes' situation

      There is, sadly, 'pragmatism' at play here.

      I suspect the prosecution authorities have looked at the situation, the evidence and the 'public interest gain' and seen just how big Google's guns are.

      There was a time when companies were in fear of Governments because they, Governments, could make laws and raise, by way of taxes, almost limitless funds to enforce them. Today, it would be a bold or reckless - or principled (????) - politician who would say to his/her paid officials 'Get this done as a lesson!'. Behind closed doors is so much more effective and civilised when dealing with vandals, isn't it....., my dear?

      Google, like some multinational Banks and Media corps and, to some extent, Social media & computer companies doesn't give a toss what Governments in a particular location do or say. They have more perceived and actual power and far better PR machines. Cross them at your expense. They can move.... no taxes, no power to influence...

      Are there similarities in Google's privacy plundering with asymmetric warfare between combatants?

      1. thecakeis(not)alie


        For al intents and purposes Google is a Government. They have a functional business tax via their marketing monopoly. They tax individuals by displaying ads. (Ads cost time and time is money.) They have for all intents and purposes an unlimited amount of money, information resources that no other government or corporation on the planet can dream of and both the smartest engineers and the savviest lawyers on the planet. has spent so many decades giving every red cent it gets to the military industrial complex, the oilcos, the telcos and the media conglomerates that for all intents and purposes is bankrupt. They are also facing a massive backlash in the form of Tea Party members demanding lower taxes for the rich. can’t tax the poor or the middle class anymore because none of them have jobs (or houses) left to tax. (Seriously, only in America, eh? Other countries are busy protesting in the streets and ricking their lives to oust their governments almost exclusively because they are sick of the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. Americans get uppity and take to the streets to demand the rich get richer! Oh, America…)

        In a knock-down drag out between Google and, Google has got it all over the government in every conceivable way.

  6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    OK gents - if you really want to hack something together ..

    .. than create apps for all platforms that generate spurious WiFi data. There are two ways of fighting a problem of disclosure: engaging in a technology war (i.e. hiding) or depleting the adversaries' resources with bullshit - pretty much how you treat a website which forces you to give name and address before you can use it. That way you don't need to hide, and devalue the data they gather.

    Much more fun..

  7. Eddy Ito
    Black Helicopters

    All settled then

    Did Google get some DARPA grant we don't know about? You know, the go about and collect all sorts of data on Joe Everyman, create an indexed database of said data then come back and tell us how effective it would be to create a ground based AWACS, dubbed WEEDWACS for Wheeled Extralegal Electronic Data Wiretap And Collection System.

    I guess this just shows the states have been read in on the program and the GOOG has agreed to allow the local attorney general to have their own link to the search database.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good for Google

    The *last* thing anybody whose wifi data happened to got slurped should want is to have it handed over to the government.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    google = do evil!

    I rest my case.

  10. Joe User

    The best justice that money can buy

    Nothing more to say....

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Justice eh?

    Real justice should be SEEN to be done.

    Back-room deals help no-one but the big players.

  12. Wize

    If its all being settled out of court...

    ...does everyone who's privacy has been infringed get a slice of the pie?

    No, didn't think so.

    1. Al Jones

      That's because

      there was no privacy infringement. The data was broadcast in the clear, so there was no expectation of privacy.

      1. Wize

        Are we going to have this discussion again?

        Its as private as getting your bits out at the nudist beach. You wouldn't want someone with a zoom lens behind a sand dune to take snaps.

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