Connecticut Attorney General Richard
Blumenthal said Wednesday that he is leading a multi-state
investigation examining Google’s unauthorized collection of data from
unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Blumenthal, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, said 37 states are participating in the investigation.
Google revealed in May that it had “mistakenly” collected personal
information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks while collecting images for
its Street View service, which provides street-level pictures of
addresses. Google said the problem was a mistake and does not believe it
has broken any laws. It has pledged to cooperate with authorities
investigating the matter.
Blumenthal said the states would take appropriate steps including legal action to obtain “complete, comprehensive answers.”
“Google’s responses continue to generate more questions than they
answer,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Our powerful multi-state
coalition … is demanding that Google reveal whether it tested Street
View software, which would have revealed that it was collected payload
Blumenthal sent a letter to Google Senior Counsel Stacey Wexler
Wednesday requesting additional information as part of the multistate
investigation by Friday.
He requested information such as whether Google tested the software
used by Street View vehicles to collect the Wi-Fi data to determine if
any consumer data would be collected; all the states where Wi-Fi data
was collected by Street View cars; who inserted the unauthorized code
into the Street View software; and was any data collected by the Wi-Fi
incident disclosed to third parties or used for marketing.
Consumer Watchdog, a group that has been critical of Google on
multiple fronts, praised the state effort but again urged Congress to
hold a hearing on the issue.
“Just as the CEO of BP was asked to explain the Gulf oil spill to the
House Energy and Commerce Committee, so should Google CEO Eric Schmidt
be required to testify about the gross intrusion into consumers’
privacy,” John Simpson, the group’s consumer advocate, said in a