UK police, US states to probe Google

Dylan Bushell-Embling & Robert Clark
23 Jun 2010

The probes into Google’s Wi-Fi sniffing are snowballing, with the UK police launching a criminal inquiry and some 30 US states considering a joint investigation.

Following a complaint from Privacy International, police yesterday began an inquiry into the collection of data by Google’s Street View vans in the UK.

The decision to open the case may have been influenced announcement by the French data protection agency CNIL that it had found email addresses and other personal data in the Google material, FT.comreported.

A US probe led by Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal will examine whether Google broke federal or state laws by collecting fragments of Wi-Fi packet data using Street View vans.

Blumenthal said in a statement that investigators would determine whether Google's admission that its Street View fleet had accidentally been collecting Wi-Fi packet data was one of criminal liability, and what personal data the search giant collected.

“Consumers have a right and a need to know what personal information -- which could include emails, web browsing and passwords -- Google may have collected, how and why,” Blumenthal said.

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