Google, StreetView, and Allegations in the US

May 20, 2010

A happy quack to the reader who sent me a link to’s “Google Sued over Snaffled Street View Data.” I am not an attorney, not a journalist, not qualified to do much more than point to this write up. According to the article,

Google has received a writ from Vicki Van Valin and Neil Mertz as part of a class action that their privacy was violated by Street View vehicles picking up data from open wireless internet connections used at home. They also want a court to prevent Google from destroying the data that’s been collected.

The article includes quite a few references to legal things. I did recognize the phrase “class action.”

Assume that the article is accurate and that the legal references in it are germane to the allegations. Here are the questions I want to capture before the slip from my goose brain:

  1. Are the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission likely to take an interest in this matter?
  2. What happens if the legal eagles move the matter into court and some of the alleged “information” is deleted or otherwise unavailable?
  3. How will the “we’re sorry” and “we goofed” method work in the face of international and US actions related to the alleged Google StreetView data collection scope?

I don’t know, but I remember one person said in a lunch conversation, “Never ask for permission. Do it. It is easier to ask for forgiveness.”

Will this work as a method of deflecting the allegations?

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2010



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