Google Ordered to Turn Over Private Wi-Fi Data
PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A federal judge has ordered Google to hand over copies of its hard drives in a class action accusing the search giant of collecting private wireless data while gathering information for Google Street View.
Google has been hit with privacy lawsuits after it began hiring drivers to travel the country collecting information for the Street View feature of its mapping application.
The company recently admitted to collecting wireless data and announced its intent to work with privacy advocates and local governments to safely get rid of the data.
But before that could happen, residents in Oregon and Washington filed a class action against Google, alleging privacy violations.
Lead plaintiff Vicki Van Valin said the Street View vehicles contain "wireless sniffers" that "secretly capture[d]" her Social Security number, banking, medical and personal information.
Each vehicle is equipped with nine cameras to record a 360-degree view. While the information requires decoding, Van Valin said the company stored the data on servers, meaning "hundreds if not thousands of Google employees" can obtain access to it.
The temporary restraining order forces Google to turn over mirror-image copies of existing hard drive data to U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman.