May 20, 2014
A think tank that studies technology innovation has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling that found Google violated the Wiretap Act when it unintentionally intercepted private data from unencrypted wireless networks when creating Street View, its panoramic mapping service.
Unencrypted Wi-Fi communications are “readily accessible to the general public,” and intercepting them is not unlawful under the Wiretap Act, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation argues.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal incorrectly reached the opposite conclusion, allowing a privacy class action against Google to continue, ITIF’s friend-of-the-court brief says.
But information technology professionals routinely test Wi-Fi network security using the same tools Google used to collect its Street View data, the brief says.
Unless the high court reverses the 9th Circuit, IT professionals will operate in an uncertain legal landscape that threatens the nation’s wireless infrastructure or leaves users open to liability, the brief says.
Google Inc. v. Joffe et al., No. 13-1181, amicus brief filed (U.S. Apr. 30, 2014).
Related Court Documents on Westlaw or WestlawNext:
Amicus brief: 2014 WL 1824350