On July 21, 2010, a coalition of 38 states sent a letter to Google demanding more information about the company’s collection of data from unsecured wireless networks by its Google Street View vehicles. The letter was sent by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on behalf of the executive committee of a multistate working group investigating Google Street View practices. As we reported on June 22, Blumenthal has spearheaded the nationwide investigation into Google Street View. Among other things, the letter asks Google to identify who was responsible for the software code that allowed the Street View cars to collect data broadcast over Wi-Fi networks, and for a list of states where unauthorized data collection occurred. The letter also asks Google for details regarding whether any of the data was disclosed to third parties or used for marketing purposes.
In his press release, Attorney General Blumenthal raised the specter of legal action against Google, noting that “[o]ur multistate investigation will determine whether laws were broken and whether legislation is necessary to prevent future privacy breaches” and “we will take all appropriate steps—including potential legal action if warranted—to obtain complete, comprehensive answers.” The letter requested a response from Google by July 23, 2010.
Data protection authorities in the EU also are investigating Google Street View.