Conn. AG demands access to data grabbed by Google

Dec 10, 2010 By DAVE COLLINS , Associated Press

(AP) -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Friday demanded that Google provide access to data the company said it accidentally collected from public Wi-Fi networks.

The Democratic U.S. senator-elect said he and the state Consumer Protection Department issued a "civil investigative demand," which is like a subpoena, that says must provide access to the data by Dec. 17 or face being taken to court.

In May, Google announced that it had inadvertently collected fragments of people's online activities from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries while taking photographs for its .

Google's disclosure prompted investigations around the globe. Blumenthal and officials in nearly 40 other states have been seeking to review the information to see if Google improperly accessed e-mails, passwords and other .

"Verifying Google's data snare is crucial to assessing a penalty and assuring no repeat," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Consumers and businesses expect and deserve a full explanation, as well as measures shielding them from future spying."

The company apologized again in a statement Friday, saying it never wanted the information and hasn't used it in any products or services.

"We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns," the statement said.

Blumenthal said Google first said the data it gathered was fragmented, but later acknowledged that it might have captured entire e-mails and other information. He also said Google has refused to give his office access to the information while allowing Canadian and other authorities to review it.

"We will fight to compel Google to come clean," Blumenthal said.

Explore further: Dutch student sells his data for €350, but at what price privacy?

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geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2010
Well, I guess he's taking Obama's "no-show job" strategy to the next level. Whereas Obama at least served 6 months out of his 6 year Senate term before he started campaigning full time for president, Blumenthal must figure that if he gets started even before he gets sworn in as Senator, he'll have an even better chance to move on up.

T3chWarrior
5 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2010
Dont do it google. delete it and be done with it. just like you they have no right to it.
gwrede
4 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2010
I don't understand this harrassing of Google. After all, they freely told about the data, and there's no way they'd need to use it. They could spy all of Gmail accounts if they wanted.

That's like suing my ISP for seeing the bits I send and receive. Sure, they could read all of them without anyone knowing, but they don't. Governments do. Blumenthal should try an easier way to see people's naughty emails with nude pictures.
NameIsNotNick
5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2010
Sorry gwrede, I agree 100% but clicked the wrong star. Damn dyslexia ;-)
Sanescience
5 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2010
The lack of sophisticated knowledge really shows with something like this.

"Google first said the data it gathered was fragmented, but later acknowledged that it might have captured entire e-mails and other information."

Yea, that is some real malicious intent there.
gopher65
5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2010
NameIsNotNick: I disagree with gwrede, but I gave him 5 stars on that post to balance out your accidental one star;).
jscroft
5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2010
What, so Google n=has no right to that data but the Government does? To hell with them. DELETE.
Sean_W
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2010
I don't think Google acted maliciously but as with many violations of people's privacy, a negligent attitude towards the sensitivity of private info can have serious consequences. The commonly held belief that no one who is innocent and respectable has anything to hide leads to naive policies towards sensitive information.

And are we to be confident that the AG would not relish the chance to use info it discovered while trying to evaluate the case against Google for purposes that had nothing to do with the case and would be off limits to them under normal circumstances? It might not even be used against a criminal but to pressure a reluctant witness to testify or such. I am not saying the AG's office would defininately do this but I would rather that they were not given the temptation.
CJ_Voges
5 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2010
Bad enough Google and others have this info. Now a politician wants it? Hello 1984.
russcelt
5 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2010
Google should have deleted the the information immediately upon realizing they'd captured it. The governments track record at protecting their own e-mails, passwords and other private data is less than confidence building. I don't want them to be responsible for protecting my e-mails, passwords and other private data.

Blumenthal is political grandstanding. If he succeeds we will all suffer.
ricarguy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2010
Hypocritical is the kindest word I can use regarding this clown. The gov't is doing a fine job protecting us from Google, but who will protect us from the government? They (Eric Holder's Justice Dept.) have already argued in court that there is no presumption of privacy over the net, and they (FCC) are moving to impose limits on content. I suppose this is all to give the illusion that they are not sifting through all these messages too. Blumenthal expects Google to incriminate itself further so they can be investigated and possibly prosecuted, so as to provide "...measures shielding...from future spying". All Google will do in the future is learn to keep their mouth shut like, one has to believe, every one else does.

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