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The Google Payload Data Fallout Continues

Written by Jillian Collins

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he will lead a multistate investigation into Google Street View cars’ unauthorized collection of personal data from WiFi networks. The Connecticut AG said he expects a significant number of states to participate. More than 30 states participated in a recent conference call regarding the Connecticut investigation.
In a statement released yesterday, Blumenthal called Google’s data collection a “deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy,” and said that consumers have a right to know what personal information, including potentially emails, web browsing habits and passwords, Google may have collected. “Google must come clean, explaining how and why it intercepted and saved private information broadcast over personal and business wireless networks,” he said. Google maintains that it did not collect the payload data intentionally and never used it , but the company may be facing not only domestic consequences but also investigations in the UK and other affected countries. Google says it stopped collecting Wi-Fi data from its Street View vehicles when it discovered the data collection problem last month following an inquiry by German regulators. The Google payload data incident is just one recent PR problem related to privacy concerns for the internet giant. Google took harsh criticism for the launch of Buzz because the feature initially revealed information about the names of users' email contacts. Google has significantly revised the service; now, it merely suggests followers, rather than automatically creating them.

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Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.