Every Wi-Fi User in US May Have $10,000 Wiretapping Claim Against Google

Google’s secret Wi-Fi sniffing has prompted a class-action lawsuit that could force the company to pay up to $10,000 for each time it snatched data from unprotected hotspots, court documents show.

The lawsuit, which was filed by an Oregon woman and a Washington man in a Portland, Ore., federal court on Monday, accused Google of violating federal privacy and data acquisition laws.

“When Google created its data collection systems on its GSV [Google Street View] vehicles, it included wireless packet sniffers that, in addition to collecting the user’s unique or chosen Wi-Fi network name (SSID information), the unique number given to the user’s hardware used to broadcast a user’s Wi-Fi signal (MAC address, the GSV data collection systems also collected data consisting of all or part of any documents, e-mails, video, audio, and VoIP information being sent over the network by the user [payload data],” the lawsuit stated.

On Tuesday, the same plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Google from deleting the data, a move the company has said it would make “as soon possible.” Oral arguments on the restraining order are scheduled for Monday before U.S. District Court Judge Janice Stewart.

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