Maura Dolan
L.A. Times
September 11, 2013

A federal appeals court decided Tuesday that Google Inc. can be held liable for violating a federal wiretap law when it collected personal information from Wi-Fi networks while obtaining photographs for Street View.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said data transmitted over an unencrypted Wi-Fi network were not readily available to the public and therefore could not be accessed under an exemption to the federal Wiretap Act.

The ruling was a victory for wireless users who brought class-action lawsuits after their private information was accessed by Google’s Street View fleets.

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