A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Monday ruled that Google [corporate website; Bloomberg backgrounder] could appeal a decision permitting a wiretapping lawsuit against the company to proceed. Judge James Ware granted [Bloomberg report] Google's request to delay the lawsuit pending an appeal of a ruling against Google. The lawsuit claims that Google is violating wiretapping laws by collecting data for its Street View [official website] program using WiFi networks. Ware rejected a motion to dismiss [JURIST report] the class-action lawsuit against Google in June, denying [WSJ report] Google's argument that when they collected information while creating their Street View feature, the information was freely and publicly available. Google collected private details transmitted on unencrypted wireless connections, but the company claims it was inadvertent.
Google has recently faced a number of allegations from the international community related to violating privacy laws by capturing personal data through Google Street View. In April, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (FAC) [official website, in German] publicized its ruling that Google Street View constitutes a breach of privacy [JURIST report] for the country's citizens and ordered Google to take extra steps to ensure adequate protection. In March, a Berlin high court ruled [JURIST report] that Google's Street View mapping service is legal in Germany. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, was narrowly focused on property rights, ignoring larger data protection issues the company is currently confronting. Also in March, the French National Commission of Information Technology and Liberty (CNIL) [official website, in French] fined Google [JURIST report] 100,000 euros (USD $141,300) for violating French data privacy laws by capturing personal data through Google Street View cars, used for its Google Maps service. Google has admitted to the collection of e-mails, passwords and other data over unsecured WiFi networks, but maintained that it was a mistake and that it did not intend to include the code which captured payload data from unsecured WiFi networks. In response to the controversy, Google grounded its Street View cars.