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Google’s Wi-Fi Sniffing Might Break Wiretap Law, Appeals Court Rules


I'm really syriassly confuzzled...

Google could be held liable for civil damages for secretly intercepting data on open Wi-Fi routers, a federal appeals court ruled today in decision that found collection of unencrypted content from wireless routers isn’t exempt from the Wiretap Act.

The decision, by the U.S. 9th Circuit court of Appeals, upholds an earlier ruling by a Silicon Valley federal judge presiding over nearly a dozen combined lawsuits seeking damages from Google for eavesdropping on open Wi-Fi networks from its Street View mapping cars. The vehicles, which rolled through neighborhoods around the world, were equipped with Wi-Fi–sniffing hardware to record the names and MAC addresses of routers to improve Google location-specific services. But the cars also secretly gathered snippets of Americans’ data.

“Surely Congress did not intend to condone such an intrusive and unwarranted invasion of privacy when it enacted the Wiretap Act to protect against the unauthorized interception of electronic communications,’” the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Umm... Aren't these the same people that are spying on everyone already? They force Google to spy on people, say that's ok, but then when Google spies on people, they say it's not ok.

Umm... err... huh?

So, the difference is "unauthorized interception"? Or, in other words, "It's ok when we do it, but not when you do it." Huh?  :huh:

So, in short, criminal activity is ok for some, but not others? All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others? :huh:

Still very confuzzled...

It's very easy to get.  Google and Microsoft are going after the NSA... so let's turn this around.  That's what I get from this...

I think this is simply the nature of any large organization like the government. There isn't a monolithic policy or behavior from such an entity - different parts act in different ways with different goals.

For example, you have some parts of the government which are tasked with environmental protection of forests (EPA), while other parts are tasked with helping commercial interests exploit forests (USDA). Though keep in mind that both groups have some overlap in their concerns as well.


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