U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Google Appeal on Privacy Lawsuit

The long-running saga of Google’s Street View legal woes ended a chapter yesterday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected its appeal of Google v. Joffe. The case is the latest in which Google takes heat for collecting data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks while its Street View cars photographed cities for Google Maps. The rejection by the Court upholds the December, 2013 ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that Google’s data collection violated the Wiretap Act.

Google's backpack version of its Street View cam for off-road mapping. Image credit: Flickr user

Google collected reams of personal data about users, including email addresses and passwords, though it claims not to have used the data for commercial gain. The rejection seems to put an end to Google’s argument that Wi-Fi networks are radio communication tools not covered by the wiretapping law. The U.S. Supreme court typically doesn’t provide explanations for the cases it refuses to hear. Google has already settled (to the tune of $7 million) with several states that claimed privacy violations.