Google loses appeal in Street View privacy lawsuit

A U.S. appeals court upheld a district court decision that Google’s collection of data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks under its Street View program is not exempt from federal wiretap laws.

Google’s data collection does not qualify for the exemption as data transmitted over a Wi-Fi network is not an electronic communication that is readily accessible to the general public, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday, giving a go-ahead to a privacy lawsuit against Google.

The Internet giant had argued that its data collection did not violate the Wiretap Act because it fell under an exemption that makes it lawful to intercept electronic communications that are readily accessible to the general public. The three-judge panel held that Wi-Fi network data collected by Google was not a radio communication, which is by definition readily accessible to the general public so long as it is not scrambled or encrypted.

SOURCE: pcworld.com