Just a couple weeks after the latest setback, Google won a halt to a lawsuit claiming its data collection using Wi-Fi networks for its Street View program violates wiretapping laws, allowing the company to appeal a ruling permitting the case to advance.
The U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Francisco on July 18, granted Google's request to put the case on hold pending an appeal of his ruling last month that its data collection, which included e-mails, user names, passwords and other private data, violated federal wiretap laws.
In that decision, Ware dismissed a pair of claims against Google, but refused to grant Google a dismissal of the wiretapping charges. "In light of the novelty of the issues presented, the court finds that its June 29 order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is a credible basis for a difference of opinion," Ware wrote in his ruling.
In the June 29 ruling, Ware wrote that while Google publicly disclosed its intent to use vehicles equipped with cameras to capture photos, it failed to say it also intended to capture wireless data. The Mountain View, California-based company argued it couldn't be found liable for federal wiretapping violations because the Wi-Fi broadcasts were unencrypted and "readily accessible" to the general public.
According to the Chronicle:
The case is the first in which a federal court is being asked to determine whether a company can be found liable under federal wiretap laws based on allegations that it intentionally intercepted data from a wireless home network, according to Ware's opinion.
"In light of the novelty of the issues presented, the court finds that its June 29 order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is a credible basis for a difference of opinion," Ware wrote in his ruling today.
A Google spokesperson said, "We are pleased that the court has allowed us to appeal its recent decision on our motion to dismiss." "We believe the claims are without merit and that the court should have dismissed the wiretap claim just as it dismissed the plaintiffs' other claims."