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The Podium

Thursday, May 20

Privacy Problems

By Brad

The fallout from Google admitting it had inadvertently been capturing snippets private data through its StreetView program continues to grow. Already, investigations have been launched in Germany, Italy, and France. And on Wednesday, the Washington Post reports, Reps. Edward Markey and Joe Barton sent a letter to the FTC urging them to investigate the matter. Later that same day, a Washington D.C. Council Member also called for an investigation into the matter, calling Google’s privacy breach “big brother-like.”

All in all, Google’s error isn’t that big of a deal. But that’s not stopping two people who left their WiFi networks open from filing a lawsuit against the company. At Techdirt, Mike Masnick calls out the litigants:

While there’s nothing illegal about setting up an open WiFi network—and, in fact, it’s often a very sensible thing to do—if you’re using an open WiFi network, it is your responsibility to recognize that it is open and any unencrypted data you send over that network can be seen by anyone else on the same access point.

This is clearly nothing more than a money grab by some people, and hopefully the courts toss it out quickly, though I imagine there will be more lawsuits like this one.

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