More And More Lawsuits Filed Against Google Over Street View WiFi Slurping

from the evidence? dept

We've already covered one class action lawsuit filed against Google for its WiFi data slurping activities, and it appears that lots and lots of lawyers are trying to jump into the game. Eric Goldman has a list of at least seven such class action lawsuits that have been filed already. While we agree that Google's actions were bad, and do deserve some scrutiny, I find it difficult to believe these lawsuits can get anywhere. In the first one that we covered, we noted that one of the complaints was from a woman who sent confidential company data via her own, unsecured WiFi access point, and we couldn't figure out how that was Google's fault.

The real issue, though, is that it will be nearly impossible (if not impossible) for anyone in any of these lawsuits to first show that any of their specific data was recorded by Google, and secondly, that any harm came to them because of it. And, as we've noted multiple times, the courts seem to want to (a) see actual privacy being breached, rather than theoretical privacy being breached and (b) see actually harm come to the plaintiffs from those breaches. Without either of those things, it's hard to see these lawsuits getting very far.

As Goldman notes, not at all sarcastically:
It's remarkable that these lawyers were able to conclude to their satisfaction that their named plaintiffs in fact had their payload data captured in the process--presumably by confirming that payload data was actually being transmitted at the precise time the cars drove by. I'm not sure how I would research this issue sufficient to satisfy my Rule 11 obligation, but these attorneys surely didn't just assume Google captured their clients' payload data...did they?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Hoeppner, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 8:42pm

    Litigate first, you might be able to get the facts "eventually".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Jonathan Lang, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 8:45pm

    Settlement fishing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Radjin, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:54pm

    Just Google trying to tie you to more ads. After all it's an ad company, not a content company. Ads are no good unless you can tie them to people. So if you look for porn, Goggle will sell that data to the porn industry and they will come looking for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    pat, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:42pm

    cookies

    If you were too look into a web sight the first thing that happens is your ip address is sent or liks that advertise that kind of thing send a cookie so that the next time your computer comes back on line its calling for the adds that you might already have the address for in that cookie. This also accounts for virus and unwanted emails.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    GimmeDaPhone, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:25am

    To use youtube or any service by Google you need to hand over your cellphone number now.

    How many naive people will do that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 3:37am

    WHA?

    From reading their comments, I can't help but assume that Radjin and pat have zero idea of what their talking about or how the internet works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:34am

    Re: cookies

    Cookies are a great example of how website operators create market inefficiency by withholding information from consumers.

    Why fully disclose what data you collect and what happens to it if it will affect whether people return to your site? If you disclose it, some people might not return. Best to keep that information secret from consumers so it wont affect their decisions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:51am

    Lawyers take from all and produce nothing, they have no place in a civilized society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    Please point to any society on Earth that is civilized. Just name one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Daddy Warbucks, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:54am

    Too many...

    That's a problem with this country, too many lawyers and not enough engineers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    Re: WHA?

    Second that

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    Snipe Hunt

    How do these plaintiffs demonstrate standing in their cases?
    Even if they could show they leased a particular IP addr and it is within the collected data at the time of their lease, where is the injury and causation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:36am

    Re: WHA?

    looks that way to me too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    AggieTallBoy, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    Disagree that it's bad...

    The uproar that's being generated over this is bordering on the ridiculous.

    Anyone operating a wifi device is doing so by virtue of an unlicensed radio transmitter (unlicensed, because the frequency range has been designated as open, and not requiring a license.)

    Protesting over someone driving by and collecting the data made available by your radio station is akin to protesting Verizon's "Can you hear me now" campaign to see where there's cellular coverage.

    You choose to operate this base station, with what I'd hope is the full knowledge that radio waves are free to travel, and anyone may receive them at any time, and you have no reasonable expectation to believe that they won't be. It's your responsibility to either shut off your wifi, encrypt the traffic, and accept that your transmissions WILL be received by people you don't want to.

    So they're collecting them into a database... whoop-de-doo... why on earth does anyone really care?

    Go for it Google!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    "To use youtube or any service by Google you need to hand over your cellphone number now."

    Since when?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 11:10am

    Re: Too many...

    There's also too many engineers and not enough craftspeople.

    Like lawyers, engineers don't build diddly though they do draw up highly flawed plans to build things. Come to think of they're like lawyers that way! ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Yeah, honestly, if you broadcast information in plain-text over radio waves, you have no expectation of privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Too many...

    "Like lawyers, engineers don't build diddly though they do draw up highly flawed plans to build things."

    Yeah, and I'm sure that your opinion is based upon your many years of experience across the entire spectrum of enginerring discipline.

    Not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    blackhair, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 3:13am

    Sue Me!

    I have Netstumbler installed on my laptop and turn it on whenever I go out just because I can!

    And yes "nobodyseesme" you forgot to turn your SSID Broadcast off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    kevin (profile), Apr 7th, 2011 @ 12:16am

    It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenter here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article. wood pellets machines

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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