9th Circ. Rebuke Of Google Wi-Fi Spying Exposes ECPA's Age

By Allison Grande (September 11, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT) -- Google Inc. will likely appeal Tuesday's Ninth Circuit decision rejecting its novel argument that data collection from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks is allowed under the federal Wiretap Act, but attorneys say the company would be better off pushing Congress to modernize the out-of-date statute.

Sticking to the language of a statute last updated in 1986, the appeals panel unanimously refused to accept Google's contention that its Street View vehicles' interception of personal data from unsecured wireless networks was kosher under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Google had argued that Wi-Fi transmissions fit into an exemption allowing for the collection of unencrypted "radio communications" that...

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