Boston-area WiFi provider sues Google over privacy issues
Galaxy Internet Services, which runs Brookline's townwide WiFi network, charges the wireless system Google used as it took Street View photos collected data on at least one occasion from Brookline wireless users.
In a class-action suit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston last week, Galaxy, which also provides public WiFi in the area around Faneuil Hall and in Grove Hall, wants lots of money ($10,000 for each user whose data was collected) - and a court order barring Google from destroying any of the data it grabbed until after the suit is settled or decided:
Google's software also captured network and router names (commonly called SSID's , an acronym for Service Set Identifier) which is information that uniquely names wireless networks, as well as MAC addresses (Media Access Control) which is a unique identifier assigned to most network adapters or network interface cards. The GSV's data system collected "payload data", specifically 600 gigabytes of information that included email, video, audio components, documents, and other personal and business data sent over the Internet. ... Users had an expectation of privacy with respect to the payload data collected and decrypted / decoded by Google. Because the GSV packet sniffing data collection was done without consent and with software that is essentially undetectable, users could not, and did not give their consent to Google's activities.
On information and belief, a GSV vehicle collected, and defendant has stored, and decoded/decrypted Brookline Wireless, and Galaxy’s other data on at least one occasion, and the data of the sub-class of Massachusett's residents, and businesses.
Ed. note: Galaxy might want to talk to City Councilor Sal LaMattina about privacy issues. You may recall a Google Street View camera captured LaMattina clad only in shorts while taking out his trash.