Sunday, June 13, 2010

Movement in the Streetview cases

Via this article from Wired's threat level blog, we learn that Google has begun its defense in the Streetview litigation by moving to have all the various lawsuits that have been filed against it consolidated in the Northern District of California (Google's motion can be found here). We also learned what is likely to be Google's defense (at least in the United States). According to the motion

Google will likely argue that even if plaintiff's allegations are true, Google did not violate the federal Wiretap Act (and similar state statutes) for a number of reasons, including the fact that open WiFi transmissions are "readily accessible" to the general public under 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(g)(i).

(from page 18 of the pdf)
Actually, maybe learned is a bit too strong of a word, since it was generally expected (see, e.g., here) that Google would defend using the public accessibility exception to the wiretap act. However, it is nice to actually see it in writing from someone who has authority to speak for Google, rather than relying on second-hand prognostications from commentators with no particular relation to the case.

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