Google is coming under fire from a 38-strong US coalition investigation on whether it broke US law in collecting personal data from unsecured WiFi networks.
Following the search giant’s public apology last week admitting the incident was a ‘mistake’ on its Australian blog, the US coalition is calling for Google to name the engineers who wrote the code. In a meeting scheduled for today, Google is expected to be grilled about the Street View snooping, says the BBC.
The coalition wants to know if Google tested the WiFi code while taking photographs and collecting location data to create its Street View imaging service.
“Google must come completely clean, fully explaining how this invasion of personal privacy happened and why,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who heads the 38-strong coalition investigating whether the search giant broke US law.
“We are asking Google to identify specific individuals responsible for the snooping code and how Google was unaware that this allowed the Street View cars to collect data broadcast over WiFi networks,” said Mr Blumenthal.
The coalition is demanding to know the places where Google captured the personal data, and what was done with the information. The coalition has treatened legal action, if necessary, to obtain “complete, comprehensive answers” from the search company.
Google maintains that it has done nothing illegal in collecting the data, and re-iterates that the data collection was unintentional. However, some commentators maintain that in order to capture such information, Google would have had to design specific hardware and software with a database designed to hold such information.
Both UK authorities and Australia Privacy Commissioner have accepted Google’s public apology over the incident, but will now face increasing questions as to why they failed to censure the company over the violation.