The attorney general of Connecticut said 37 states have joined his investigation of Google Inc. and that he continues to seek information about whether privacy laws were broken when Google’s Street View vehicles collected personal data of unsuspecting Internet users.
In a letter dated Wednesday sent to Google, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal seeks specific details about the collection of data, including whether Google sold or used any of the information it collected. He threatened legal recourse if he doesn’t get the answers he wants, requesting the response by Friday.
What better way for a s state’s Attorney General to make a national name for himself than leading the charge against Google. Google is the rare company that is loved and hated in equal amounts. People who use it for search and other business services rarely complain because what you can get for free from Google is A) free and B) usually very good quality. People who don’t like it as much think that Google is a corporate bully that throws its weight around without much push back. I think that both sides have merit but I tend to fall on the side of being a fan rather than a detractor.
In this case, though, Google is drawing the ire of a public official in an election year (Blumenthal is running for the Connecticut senate seat recently vacated by Christopher Dodd’s retirement). That’s a perfect storm in this kind of situation because any traction gained against corporate America could be impressive to certain types of voters.
Blumenthal is questioning just how Google ‘allowed’ this to happen since this potential issue should have been revealed during testing of the data collection process.
Mr. Blumenthal, updating an investigation that began last month, said if Google had been testing the data it should have foreseen the trouble.
“Google’s responses continue to generate more questions than they answer,” he said in a statement. “We will take all appropriate steps—including potential legal action if warranted—to obtain complete, comprehensive answers.”
Google is trying its best to say that this was a mistake and placing the blame on a piece of experimental software used in the process of gathering their street view information.
Overall, this is something that could turn into a rather large distraction for Google as it works toward growing its business in areas outside of search ads. Having pending cases around the world and a heated up interest in the US regarding this activity by the company could very well hurt them to some degree.
To what degree may be determined by just how hard Mr. Blumenthal thinks he has to push in order to get elected in November. Ain’t America great?!