Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Privacy Wireless Networking Technology

Google Declines To Turn Over Harvested Wi-Fi Data 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-have-this-fight-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google declined to submit data collected as part of the 'Spy-Fi' flap, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is now promising further action: '"I certainly will be pressing for continued involvement at the federal level in coordination with the states," Blumenthal told Politico Monday, just days after promising to explore "additional enforcement actions" if Google does not share the data soon. Asked to describe what those federal efforts might include, the outgoing attorney general said, "There's a range of potential opportunities for oversight and scrutiny by a member of the US Congress – including letters, meetings, hearings, and potentially even legislation." For its part, Google has tried to defuse the issue by offering to delete the data. The company reaffirmed that position in a Friday statement, promising to work with Blumenthal in the coming weeks, but declined to comment further on Monday.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Declines To Turn Over Harvested Wi-Fi Data

Comments Filter:
  • by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:19AM (#34625082)
    Google should have deleted the data before they even publicly announced that they had accidentally collected it. Would have made the matter a whole lot simpler and would have left less room for political grandstanding.
    • by kanto (1851816)

      Google should have deleted the data before they even publicly announced that they had accidentally collected it. Would have made the matter a whole lot simpler and would have left less room for political grandstanding.

      It'll probably end up on wikileaks once a government body gets it's paws on it; safer to chuck those discs in the microwave.

      • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:33AM (#34625456)

        It'll probably end up on wikileaks once a government body gets it's paws on it; safer to chuck those discs in the microwave.

        Exactly.

        I'm rooting for Google to stand fast. What possible use would the government have for these account names and passwords.

        When the government can prove that they can hold onto their own secret data then maybe they can be entrusted with this. (NAH, what was I thinking!?)

        If it is released to the government, (AND Government) it will be leaked.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Forget leaks, there is only one reason the Government could want a bunch of our passwords and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Google.

        • by kiwimate (458274)

          Oh come on. Put away the conspiracy theories.

          “We’re not asking for names or addresses. We want to see the nature of the data they have,” he added. “Their claim is that none of it was obtained illegally anyway, so it kind of contradicts their underlying contention they’ve done nothing legally wrong.”

          And, by the way, also from the story:

          The company has since settled with many concerned regulators, sharing the data with Germany, France and Spain

          I have not followed the story, so perhaps someone else can explain why Google would share the data with three other countries but not the U.S. (Not wild conspiracy theories, either - I mean Google's rationale or explanation.)

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "I have not followed the story, so perhaps someone else can explain why Google would share the data with three other countries but not the U.S. (Not wild conspiracy theories, either - I mean Google's rationale or explanation.)"

            I believe this is likely due to Germany, and the other countries in the EU, having specific privacy laws that may have been breached during the Google drive thru.

            The US, to the best of my knowledge has no such privacy laws on any state or federal level.

            Therefore, I'm guessing that

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Meh, this is turning out to a textbook example of why companies don't do the right thing. Right now I bet Google wish they'd deleted the data, buried the case, burned the records and none of those involved were ever heard from ever again.... ok maybe not the last part, but seriously? When you know the result of admitting jaywalking is to be take out back and put before an execution squad, you're not going to find many turning themselves in.

      • by TaoPhoenix (980487)

        Maybe, but Google is one of the 5 companies I think is smart enough to play the Long-Script game.

        Of course they could have played Corporation Games and squashed it, but instead maybe they're using a carefully chosen test-case to get certain predictable events "over with".

        Right after the early Dot-Com crash I (among many to be sure) I noticed the Gaping Abyss concept: once the original "This Time Will Be Different" sales-mood of Dot Com 1.0 crashed, I felt that medium-soon we'll just be staring at a bunch of

        • I believe that someone's always playing Corporation Games.
        • by dangitman (862676)

          Okay, if Web 1.0 was Sales, 2.0 was Sharing, one candidate for 3.0 is Walled Garden & Censorship, and I speculate that 4.0 will be a Privacy Revolt.

          How about a revolt against the inane idea that the web has version numbers? Or that the web as a whole even has some sort of overarching narrative?

          • I'm having fun with the version numbers based on Buzzword Bingo, but I do think there's the overarching narrative effect. Since I'm not that original, I'm pretty sure someone out there has a Citation.

        • I assume 2.0 refers to the early-2000s "golden age" of file sharing (in terms of the number of file sharers), and the current social media fits into 3.0 (which I truly hope is a fad and not a new way of doing things...if it's a fad, I think we're approaching the bust point).

          Can't wait for 4.0, social media needs to die as a business. Human relationships should not be commercialized.

    • by beakerMeep (716990) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:36AM (#34625186)

      Destroying evidence while being investigated by the FCC/FTC is usually frowned upon. But I'm glad they are declining to hand it over for what you aptly called grandstanding. Honestly I think Google has handled it the best they can given the situation. Seeing politicians exploit the situation is beginning to irk me too though.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Well the whole thing just seems like an ever climbing level of stupid. First Google collects data that while not illegal certainly wouldn't look good for the company: Dumb. Then they announce it to the world: Extra Dumb The governments demand to see the data...why? Just to see if there are any juicy bits? :Really Dumb, and now Google refuses to hand any of it over rather than just redact the names and let them have the boring bits: Extra Super dumb.

        If there is any lesson here it is that Google should have

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't think Google really minds an investigation about this incident, or the government even investigating the data. I think they just don't like the way the government is demanding to investigate the data.

          Google did the right thing when they told the world about it. We deserve to know. And if they had not told us about this and we somehow found out, we'd be asking why they kept silent and what conspiracy this is related to.
          The government wanting to investigate the incident and view the data as part of th

        • by AltairDusk (1757788) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:54AM (#34627390)

          Well the whole thing just seems like an ever climbing level of stupid. First Google collects data that while not illegal certainly wouldn't look good for the company: Dumb. Then they announce it to the world: Extra Dumb The governments demand to see the data...why? Just to see if there are any juicy bits? :Really Dumb, and now Google refuses to hand any of it over rather than just redact the names and let them have the boring bits: Extra Super dumb.

          First Google accidentally collected the data, they didn't do it on purpose. Then after realizing they had collected it they decided to come forward and do the right thing rather than doing what most corporations would have done and covering it up. Then instead of governments realizing "hey they screwed up and they've admitted it, we want to encourage this kind of behavior rather than cover-ups" all of the governments involved have done a fine job making the cover-up look like the smart choice over doing what's right.

        • by tcr (39109)

          I wouldn't say they didn't need the data...
          SSIDs are geopoints are required if you're going to put together your own aGPS service as an alternative [gigaom.com] to SkyHook.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Destroying evidence while being investigated by the FCC/FTC is usually frowned upon.

        It wasn't evidence till they admitted having it and everybody started demanding it. The GP was right, they should have destroyed it first, then fessed up that they had un-permitted data (which still has not been proven in a court of law) and that they did the right thing by destroying it.

        • by qubezz (520511) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:52AM (#34625536)

          Oh noes! Google might have recorded an unencrypted packet or two of someone checking gmail while they were driving through a neighborhood! They are clearly guilty of receiving and recording electromagnetic signals IN A FREQUENCY THAT IS PUBLIC AND UNLICENSED, by devices that were advertising their SSID and transmitting unencrypted data. Guilty of doing something completely legal and completely trivial.

          I trust Google with my personal contacts and emails, documents, schedule, voice mail, etc. I do not trust and never authorized the State of Connecticut to have access to any data of mine, and neither should you. Go away extortionist attorney general.

          • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @03:09AM (#34625866) Journal

            They are clearly guilty of receiving and recording electromagnetic signals IN A FREQUENCY THAT IS PUBLIC AND UNLICENSED, by devices that were advertising their SSID and transmitting unencrypted data

            I think that there is a good case that privacy concepts need to be re-thought in the light of what is possible now through data-mining. Today, private information can be derived from amassing and relating lots of disparate public information. This is an issue that is not simply dispatched by pointing out that the source information was public. I think that we need new concepts of privacy.

            • by AltairDusk (1757788) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:03AM (#34627480)

              While I agree I also think there needs to be some clear indication that privacy is desired. Encrypted WiFi, however weak the encryption may be, clearly signals a desire for privacy and the argument can convincingly be made that anyone cracking the encryption is willfully violating privacy. Unencrypted WiFi should carry the same expectation of privacy as talking over a clear channel on a CB radio, the concept is actually quite similar.

              What really should have happened here is that the government should have asked Google "Ok, you screwed up, now what are you going to do about it? How about you fund a campaign to educate the public on privacy matters and the importance of encrypting their WiFi?" That would have been a better solution for everyone involved. The government still gets to look like they stepped in and took care of the issue. Google still pays for the mistake, while helping people in the process. The public gets to use this incident and all of the publicity surrounding it as a lesson and many more people will encrypt their wireless networks or clamor to their ISPs to provide their wireless routers with encryption already set up. Very large missed opportunity here.

        • by Skater (41976)

          Destroying evidence while being investigated by the FCC/FTC is usually frowned upon.

          It wasn't evidence till they admitted having it and everybody started demanding it. The GP was right, they should have destroyed it first, then fessed up that they had un-permitted data (which still has not been proven in a court of law) and that they did the right thing by destroying it.

          Except then half of Slashdot would be going off about how Google is evil and their proof would be that Google deleted the data before anyone could look at it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dan East (318230)

      Google should have the right to do anything they want with this data. If it is unencrypted and transmitted over open airwaves (AKA no WPA or even WEP for that matter) then that's not Google's fault. If it were encrypted then that might be a different matter, but I am still of the opinion that anyone has the right to receive RF communication as long as they do not trespass, etc, to do so.

    • 1)You don't "accidentally" retain sniffed traffic logs of that size, across your entire international operations, for months if not years, "accidentally." See http://gizmodo.com/5671049/google-street-view-cars-collected-emails-and-passwords [gizmodo.com] I mean come on...someone would have noticed the drives filling up, wondered why, etc. These people are supposedly geniuses, right?

      2)There's no political grandstanding here. This is a major privacy invasion. The "grandstanding" has been international, because people

      • by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:31AM (#34625694)

        I mean come on...someone would have noticed the drives filling up, wondered why, etc. These people are supposedly geniuses, right?

        You apparently have no idea how much harddrive space Google has.

        • He's also not a programmer, or he'd know how easy it is to accidentally release an app with testing code in it and have it go unnoticed for a long time.

          What probably happened is the app was rushed out with the testing code in place, put on Google's internal file servers, where it was then either automatically installed to the Street View Cars, or manually installed by toner change monkeys and interns around the world. Then their hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes or maybe many terabytes of capacity, whi

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I mean come on...someone would have noticed the drives filling up, wondered why, etc. These people are supposedly geniuses, right?

        Because, sure, given the choice between incompetence and malice, it's always malice, right?

        You make it sound like there was an army of Google's top engineers working on this one single component. If these engineers are geniuses, how many engineers do you really think they'd need? I'd guess one, maybe two. Yeah, it's got to be malice. There's no way one person would make a mistake, or fail to notice something that someone else's code was doing.

        2)There's no political grandstanding here. This is a major privacy invasion. The "grandstanding" has been international, because people are PISSED. Google collected and correlated with location data...MAC addresses

        Right. Google (and several other companies, and black hats w

      • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @03:05AM (#34625844) Journal

        This is a major privacy invasion.

        I'm a little confused on how giving more people access to the data helps to ameliorate the supposed privacy invasion?

        • by scdeimos (632778)

          I'm a little confused on how giving more people access to the data helps to ameliorate the supposed privacy invasion?

          Hear! Hear! This from TFA:

          "We’re not asking for names or addresses. We want to see the nature of the data they have," he added.

          Um, excuse me? What business is it of yours? They've already told you what types of data have been sniffed. Why do you need to see it?

        • Indeed. What's the difference between one burglar breaking into your house or having your house officially opened as a public space for everyone?
      • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:07AM (#34626100)

        1)You don't "accidentally" retain sniffed traffic logs of that size, across your entire international operations, for months if not years, "accidentally." See http://gizmodo.com/5671049/google-street-view-cars-collected-emails-and-passwords [gizmodo.com] [gizmodo.com] I mean come on...someone would have noticed the drives filling up, wondered why, etc. These people are supposedly geniuses, right?

        Eric: Hey Larry, this D drive is filling up pretty quick.
        Larry: Huh?
        Eric: I said the D drive is filling up pretty quick.
        Larry: It's probably nothing, what are you doing?
        Eric: Oh, nothing..I was just going to create a new logo for the anniversary of the invention of the potato peeler and I got this message.
        Larry: What did it say?
        Eric: I don't remember exactly, I just clicked ok, but it said something about disk-space, and wouldn't let me create my jpeg.
        Larry: Well did you check the Control Panel?
        Eric: Yeah, it's saying it's all full...
        Larry: What? Seriously? I thought we put a 100Gb in there a few months ago? It shouldn't be full.
        Eric: Well...it is. See? All blue!
        Larry: Should we delete some of it?
        Eric: I did, last week, and the week before...maybe it's a virus?
        Larry: What are all these? Hmmm. They look important...probably Sergey's.
        Eric:Shit...Sergey. Do you think...shall we tell him? Shall we tell Sergey?
        Larry: Do you want to tell him? He's going to be super pissed when he finds out you filled the new hard-drive with porn or whatever you did..
        Eric: I...Good point. I'll go down to best-buy and get one of those external disk things. What should I get? 200Gb or 300Gb?
        Larry:I don't know? Just get the biggest one you can, and hurry! It's his turn to use the computer next!!
        Sergey: Hey guys, what's up?
        Eric & Larry (together): Nothing!

        End Scene.

      • by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:16AM (#34626130) Homepage

        1) Yes you can accidentally retain sniffed traffic logs. Run Kismet for instance. I have once accidentally left it on, sniffing all encrypted and non-encrypted traffic in my neighborhood (~15 networks) for about 48 hours: ~10GB. Google did not sniff all traffic, it only sniffed (or sampled) a few packets from every hotspot (maybe 10-20kb). With standard disk sizes being 250GB it takes a really, really long time to fill up your disk with random samples.

        2) People are pissed for what? Not securing their own wireless? Transmitting their passwords in clear text over an insecure medium? They only correlated what any WLAN tracker/sniffer can provide. If you own a wireless network you might know that your MAC addresses and SSID's get transferred and being able to correlate them against GPS locations has been done not just by Google. Even so, it's still legal in most places to receive radio transmissions (since it's physically impossible not to) and you can do whatever you want with them those transmitting those radio transmissions should know that there can be eavesdroppers anywhere.

        3) It's not slightly creepy. I have done it as have probably many others here. Ever been at a location where you need internet? Maybe at your local coffee shop or at a hotel? You open your laptop and scan for networks hoping to find an unsecured one - you're now wardriving. Doing it for profit has been done before, there are companies that sell these databases successfully since at least the last '90's, not just Google.

        • by he-sk (103163)

          Maybe at your local coffee shop or at a hotel? You open your laptop and scan for networks hoping to find an unsecured one - you're now wardriving.

          Don't you mean warsitting? Or maybe warstarbucking?

        • Yeah I can't feel bad for the "victims" here. They send sensitive information, in plaintext, over an unsecured wireless connection, and they're upset that somebody picked up the information they were transmitting out into the world? ZOMG poor babies!!!

        • by 1800maxim (702377)
          48 hours != years.
      • by iserlohn (49556)

        Accidentially != intentionally

        They could have retained packet data to do statistical analysis on the type of communications occurring for example, but did not delete the data afterwards (which is the most likely explanation). There is nothing against any law that allows you to collect unencrypted transmissions in the clear on unlicensed public spectrum. It is given that in such cases, there is no presumption of privacy. In fact, the AG of Connecticut is probably on a fishing expedition to see if the can fin

      • 1)You don't "accidentally" retain sniffed traffic logs of that size, across your entire international operations, for months if not years, "accidentally." See http://gizmodo.com/5671049/google-street-view-cars-collected-emails-and-passwords [gizmodo.com] I mean come on...someone would have noticed the drives filling up, wondered why, etc. These people are supposedly geniuses, right?

        First off, they wanted to capture some basic data about WiFi networks, SSID and possibly a few other things, not traffic. If you have a smartphone running iOS or Android (not sure about the others) both of those use WiFi to assist with location services. The way it does so is based on a database lookup of SSID + a few other factors which have been previously gathered by whatever company is running the location database.

        Secondly, considering they were capturing that WiFi data along with the massive amount

      • Why would Google have come out and said they accidentally collected this data if it was actually on purpose? Do you think the company is so stupid that they would intentionally do something illegal, retain the evidence, then tell the world about it?

    • Google should have deleted the data before they even publicly announced that they had accidentally collected it.

      Oh give them a break, they probably just hit 'archive' without even really thinking about it.

    • I agree, if they collected it by accident, they should have just wiped it, problem solved, done and done. Publicly admitting what they did doesn't help anyone. If they wanted to secretly gather wifi data they could do it, and there wouldn't be much we could do about it (beyond minding what plaintext traffic you run over unsecured wifi connections).

      And what good could the government possibly want this information for?

    • by Degrees (220395)

      Revision 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that if a party has reason to believe that evidence may be subpoenaed, the party must keep the data (or face sanction). It's a lose-lose situation either way, and this way Google doesn't look like a place that is trying to hide a crime.

      I have also learned that there is something called "in camera" which means that during a trial, you can show your data to the judge in person (he can view it with his eyes) and then make a decision whether the data sho

    • You really think that data collection was purely accidental? And it didn't strike you that they haven't turned the "feature" off between the start of street view mapping and the end of it, which took a lengthy amount of time?

      I'm sure the data collected reached its intended destination.

  • by Knave75 (894961) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:20AM (#34625092)
    Yes, the government is certainly a safe place to store sensitive data, what is google thinking?
    • boo-hoo, the evil government! yay google, champion of freedom!!

      *pukes*

      The government is the one institution that people can change. It's the one institution you can affect by participation without institutional change. That's exactly why all the anger and fear is directed at the government. The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect, they're pure tyrannies. So therefore you wanna keep corporations invisible, and focus all anger at the government. So you don't like

      • by Knave75 (894961)
        I was not saying that google was a paragon of virtue, but duplicating the information and/or giving the only copies over to the government will certainly not enhance privacy.
  • Holy Crap! (Score:4, Funny)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:21AM (#34625094)
    "letters, meetings, hearings" - If that doesn't scare the bejesus out of Google, I don't know what will.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:32AM (#34625164) Homepage

      "letters, meetings, hearings" - If that doesn't scare the bejesus out of Google, I don't know what will.

      The Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

      • by sconeu (64226)

        I don't think Google will fit into the Comfy Chair.

      • Now I do, so they won't turn up?
        • Thats right, but that means that you no longer expect the Spanish Inquistion.....
          • Ah, but that results in a live lock, so nothing happens, so the Spanish Inquisition won't turn up. I am comfortable in knowing that. So I do not expect them. So they will turn up, which causes a live lock that prevents them from turning up which causes me not to expect them, resulting in them turning up GOTO begin
            *gets shot by a decent programmer*
  • So let me see. The government is saying "Bad Google, shouldn't have collected all that data. That's private data that belongs to our citizens, not to you, even though it was broadcast in the clear. Now that we've established that only the originator should have that data.... let me have a peek! No, don't delete it - I really wanna see."

    Very consistent. Not hypocritical at all.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Yeah, that's the part I'm missing as well. What reason are they giving for wanting this data, if they claim it should never have been collected? We can maybe guess at the real reason, but what's the official reason? Blumenthal doesn't seem to be explaining anything here.

      • by Americano (920576) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:44AM (#34625230)

        They want it as part of an investigation into the "accidental" collection of the data. This is standard procedure for a regulatory investigation - the data Google collected is evidence relevant to the investigation.

        I'm not sure why you'd be interested in pretending that you don't get this... When's the last time you heard of an investigation in which the law enforcement and legal officials involved DID NOT want to see evidence relevant to their investigation?

        Whether or not Atty General Blumenthal has jurisdiction and the right to request that data is something that may need to be decided in a court, but SOME investigative body is certainly going to want to review the data that was collected, since it is (perhaps) evidence of wrongdoing on Google's part, and entirely relevant to an investigation into whether or not Google broke laws in collecting and retaining that data.

        • Here's the difference: What are they investigating? They can't go trolling for wrong doing. They dont even imply what types of regulations or laws may have been broken.

          • by Americano (920576)

            Two different federal groups were investigating: the Federal Trade Commission, on consumer privacy grounds (they concluded their investigation, and basically said that 'since Google has improved their collection and promised not to do it again, no action is necessary.'), and the Federal Communications Commission, which is actively (at least, active as of the latest I've heard) looking at whether or not Google's intercepting these transmissions is a violation of FCC regulations and relevant Communications A

        • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @03:07AM (#34625848) Journal
          "Whether or not Atty General Blumenthal has jurisdiction and the right to request that data is something that may need to be decided in a court, but SOME investigative body is certainly going to want to review the data that was collected, since it is (perhaps) evidence of wrongdoing on Google's part, and entirely relevant to an investigation into whether or not Google broke laws in collecting and retaining that data."

          Evidence for what charge? What you are describing above is commonly known as a "fishing expedition". If Google has been accused of a crime then by all means go to court and get a search warrant to collect evidence, but demanding evidence so that you can go away and scour the books to see if you can find a crime is not how it's supposed to work.
        • by whoever57 (658626)

          I'm not sure why you'd be interested in pretending that you don't get this... When's the last time you heard of an investigation in which the law enforcement and legal officials involved DID NOT want to see evidence relevant to their investigation?

          I think that you are being obtuse if you can't see the difference between this data (which is claimed to be a privacy breach) and other types of evidence.

          If the data really is private, then surely the government should obtain a warrant to get the data? Or is it

        • the data Google collected is evidence relevant to the investigation.

          So, the investigators should get a subpoena. That's how the system works. If you can't convince a judge to issue a subpoena, you don't have a leg to stand on. I don't think Google -- or any other company -- should just hand out potentially sensitive user information to anyone who asks for it. Maybe that's how it works in China, but that isn't how it works in the USA.

      • by beakerMeep (716990) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:53AM (#34625268)

        The fact that his answer was so evasive is actually very telling. If they had a good reason to be looking at the data they'd have a warrant in hand.

        “There’s a range of potential opportunities for oversight and scrutiny by a member of the U.S. Congress – including letters, meetings hearings, and potentially even legislation.”

        Translation: we got nothing, so we're gonna try and invent some reason to get the data.

  • They said they would delete, just do so, effectively telling the gov't to f' off, which they need to hear from time to time.
  • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:29AM (#34625150)

    Apparently Google has already given some or all of the sniffed data to authorities in Germany, Spain and France. I wonder why the US is causing so much more controversy?

    Perhaps the US government is asking for more data (eg data from other countries) or has refused to meet conditions Google had set for the European governments, when handing over their shares of the data?

    • by melted (227442) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:42AM (#34625218) Homepage

      IANAL, but maybe it's because by law of _this_ country they _don't have to_ turn it over without a court order?

    • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:56AM (#34625296)

      Apparently Google has already given some or all of the sniffed data to authorities in Germany, Spain and France. I wonder why the US is causing so much more controversy?

      Perhaps the US government is asking for more data (eg data from other countries) or has refused to meet conditions Google had set for the European governments, when handing over their shares of the data?

      The issue is that it is *not* the US Government asking to see the data, it's the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut. Who may or may not have any legal justification for even asking for it.

      Google has already underwent an FTC investigation over this issue, and an FCC investigation is still pending.

      So how many levels in our kludgeocracy should Google have to explain its actions to?

      • by DRJlaw (946416)

        The issue is that it is *not* the US Government asking to see the data, it's the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut. Who may or may not have any legal justification for even asking for it.

        Every state is a soverign entity with general police and lawmaking powers, whereas the federal government in theory has powers limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. The attorney general of a state is the elected head law enforcement officer of that state (presuming that you view law enforcement as inc

        • by w_dragon (1802458)
          And apparently in Connecticut Google's lawyers believe that the Attorney General saying 'pretty please' is not enough to force them to hand over data. Charge them and get a warrant and I'm sure they'll comply. This data may be evidence in a federal court given the investigations going on, would it really look good on Google if they just started handing it out to anyone who asked without a legal obligation to do so?
    • I'd hazard a guess that another reason might be that those countries actually have privacy laws that could compel Google to turn over the information.

  • I think perhaps the headache for Google is that they may be required under US law to hold all records for 7 years -- since any data collected is a 'record', they simply can't delete it without the authorisation of the US Government, else they could find themselves in trouble, corporately-speaking. However, it seems this particular politician wants to engage in a little electronic-voyeurism -- which although unsurprising is still a bit unsettling -- and is standing in the way of Google obtaining the necessa
    • Are you talking about Sarbanes -Oxley? Doesnt that apply more towards accounting records? Say Google wanted to delete its maps of the US, they wouldn't need permission for that. But if they wanted to delete expense reports they would.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:39AM (#34625198)

    He will do anything to keep his face in the media.

    • "He will do anything to keep his face in the media."

      You know, as I was reading this thread, I kept asking myself why he is still doing this kind of stuff. I'm from CT (and no, I didn't vote for this guy, I can't STAND him) but I kept thinking "Jeez, the election is OVER, and he won. Why is he doing this?"

      Thanks for answering my question for me. It was so obvious it evaded me. Wish I had mod points!
  • This information is still available, you just have to drive around collecting it. The government could attach sniffers to all postal trucks and quickly map out the entire country, they don't need Google. Of course it would be highly unpopular if someone tries to do it.
  • ....like letting more people have access to it

  • I'm just glad our government has found something else to focus on other than the economy, tax reform, the 2 wars we're involved in, net neutrality or any of the other pressing issues that are so difficult to tackle.
  • The government has no right to access this incorrectly and even illegally collected data. Google has confessed their mistake, now they should delete that data and receive the punishment for their actions. If Google doesn't agree with the verdict, then they can choose to use the data to help their case, and not the other way around (where the Government uses the data to make their case.)

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Well, no. It rarely works out that way.

      You see, once the investigation is initiated, the government has a right to pursue any evidence that may pertain to the case- even if it implicates other crimes or aids the conviction of the crime. Normally, how this would work is the government would get a judge to issue a warrant to produce the item or information if asking for it doesn't work.

      The problem here is that there is no clear evidence of a crime or that the government has jurisdiction to conduct an investig

  • Most of this is Rupert Murdoch's media sources pointing out that his main competitor for the advertising dollar could be almost as evil as one of his British newspapers. Didn't you all notice the Murdoch media raving for a while about how google was evil even before this mistake landed in their journalists laps?
  • If the data was gathered illegally, then legally it shouldn't be used for anything. It should be deleted. How is replicating the data going to fix the situation? They shouldn't be looking at it or combing through it, they shouldn't be spreading it around, so why aren't they ordering it deleted? Why do they want the data?

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

Working...