Google has reportedly lost another appeal in the ongoing Street View privacy row as the court has ruled that the search giant breached federal wiretap laws when collecting user data from unencrypted wireless networks for its mapping programme.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that payload data transmitted over a Wi-Fi network is not ‘radio communications’ as defined under the federal Wiretap Act and as claimed by Google.
Appellate advocacy counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Alan Butler said that the court’s ruling in the case is significant because the court affirmed its previous holding that Wi-Fi communications are protected under the Wiretap Act, PC World reports.
According to the report, in 2010, the search giant admitted collecting data transmitted over open Wi-Fi networks when shooting photos for the Street View programme and apologised for its actions.
The search giant had said that it would destroy or render inaccessible close to 650GB of data it had collected from Wi-Fi networks.
However, after Google was sued by several individuals saying the company had violated the Wiretap Act, the company defended its actions saying they were legal because the only data it collected was data that was unencrypted and freely available to the general public over unsecured wireless networks.