Google turns down Connecticut AG’s request for wi-fi user data

While Google is reported to be cracking down on public leaks, it seems even the government can’t crack the search engine giant for info, at least at the state level- Google flatly turned down the Connecticut Attorney General’s request for personal data on residents captured inadvertently by Google Street View cars.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal didn’t have any qualms about blasting Google for their non-compliance with his request. Blumenthal, a Democrat, released a statement expressing displeasure and mild threats at Google’s unwillingness to turn over the accidentally-collected data culled from unsecured wi-fi networks including email messages and passwords. In part, he said:

“I am disappointed by Google’s failure to comply with my information demands. We will review any information we receive and consider whether additional enforcement steps — including possible legal action — are warranted,” Blumenthal said.

He continued:

“Access to information Google improperly collected from unsecured wireless computer networks may be needed to prevent a repeat,” Blumenthal said.

“Google’s story has changed from claiming it only collected fragments to acknowledging possible capture of full e-mails, making review of the data even more urgent.”

In a statement of their own, Google was dismissive of Blumenthal’s requests, basically saying “come back with a warrant.”

“As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks. As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all WiFi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities,” said a Google spokesperson in an e-mailed statement.

“We did not want and have never used the payload data in any of our products and services. We want to delete the data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns.”

Google refused to comment further on Blumenthal’s request. In June, Blumenthal referred to the accidental data collection as a “deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy.”

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