The San Francisco federal appeals court says a class action lawsuit against Google will proceed after they were accused of illegal wiretapping during street view operations. The technology giant allegedly violated the U.S. Wiretap Act by collecting people's personal correspondence and online activities from unencrypted WI-FI networks as it gathered images for its mapping program.
This is the second time Google's street view dilemma has landed them in court and has already cost the company $7 million in fines.
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The demands of the appeals court comes after Google tried to have the case dismissed. Their lawyers claim the activities were exempt from the Wiretap Act because data transmitted over a WI-FI network is "radio communication" and is "readily accessible to the public".
In response to the Californian based company, the three judge panel ruled it as uncommon to use the data for commercial purposes.
"Even if it is commonplace for members of the general public to connect to a neighbour's unencrypted WI-FI network, members of the general public do not typically mistakenly intercept, store, and decode data transmitted by other devices on the network".
The U.S., France and Germany were among the nations to investigate the claims after computer users complained about the company's data-gathering practices from 2008-2010. Attorney Elizabeth Cabraser, representing a class action of internet users that accuse Google of privacy invasion, said she "looks forward" to resuming the case.