Privacy lawsuit against Google grows

July 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM
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NASHVILLE, July 14 (UPI) -- A group of Nashville residents and attorneys joined a massive invasion-of-privacy class-action lawsuit against Internet behemoth Google.

The company is accused of breaking federal and state wiretap laws from 2007 to 2010, when vehicles deployed nationwide to collect images for Google Maps' street view feature and had software that ferreted bits of personal information from residents' and businesses' open wireless networks, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Thursday.

"There's nothing wrong with an expectation of privacy, and Google violated it," Nashville marketing and design coordinator Wes Hartline, 28, said of the lawsuit. "I feel like if someone broke into your home and took these sorts of things, you'd be really upset. I don't think this is any different."

Google says it tapped into wireless networks in an unrelated endeavor to the street-view feature. It also admitted it made a huge mistake and never meant to collect personal information. Google also insists it hasn't broken any laws law by downloading information from wireless networks that were open.

Google also is being investigated by government agencies in the United States and abroad, and is subject to a multistate probe as well.

A federal district judge last month rejected Google's bid to dismiss the suit. Google, however, filed a motion asking for permission to appeal the decision to a federal appeals court and to have the lawsuit suspended in the interim.

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