SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has joined the list of government agencies investigating the information that Google collected while gathering data for its “Street View” service.
Google is being investigated for this in Europe as well.
Google Street View allows users to view actual photos for Google’s map or driving directions services. Street View vehicles have been all over the world taking pictures of homes, landmarks and other buildings. The vehicles capture WiFi network data, which Google claims improves its maps and direction services.
But Google has admitted that the equipment also collected and stored samples of payload data from computers logged onto open WiFi networks. Payload data include user emails, passwords and browsing activity. Google claims the data was sent over encrypted WiFi networks and was not stored.
“Google is asking consumers to take them at their word,” Madigan said in a statement. “My office takes issues concerning privacy and the security of personal information very seriously, and we are investigating Google’s actions to determine whether any laws were broken and what steps must be taken to protect the privacy of Illinois residents.”
Madigan and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sent a joint letter to Google requesting detailed information on Google Street View’s collection of payload data from Illinois and Massachusetts residents.
Google has said that the Street View cars are grounded and that they are no longer collecting WiFi data.