(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Google is finding itself in some hot water regarding data collection. According to a report from NPR on Wednesday, a U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco has refused to dismiss a lawsuit which accuses the tech giant of violating federal wiretap laws.
The company reportedly collected data about users’ web surfing habits as its Street View vehicles covered the world’s roads while charting for Google Maps.
Making such a move possible were millions of peoples’ reliance on unencrypted wireless networks – traffic that Google Street View cars examined from a period ranging from 2008 to 2010.
Google had already settled the lawsuit with the FTC for $7 million, blaming it on a “rogue employee.” However, the private lawsuit remains.
The tech giant has also argued that the wireless transmissions were more like “radio transmissions” rather than phone calls, according to NPR.
The court pointed out the public’s lack of real access to Wi-Fi transmissions, however. “Wi-Fi transmissions are not “readily accessible” to the “general public” because most of the general public lacks the expertise to intercept and decode payload data transmitted over a Wi-Fi network,” stated the court ruling.