• Authorities in both the United States and Germany are poised to begin inquiries into Google’s collection of Wi-Fi data by its Street View cars, which were deployed to take street-level photos and collect basic Wi-Fi information, such as the SSIDs and MAC addresses of WiFi routers. The furor erupted after Google recently admitted that its cars had been collecting more data than the company realized, stating that it had discovered a “mistake” in the code being used and that it was, in fact, collecting some information on who was visiting what websites on which Wi-Fi networks. Consumer Watchdog has demanded that the FTC look into Google’s activities, and German authorities have already demanded a copy of Google’s hard drives so that it can see for itself what has been collected. Thus far, Google has indicated it would be willing to destroy the data, but not turn it over to authorities.
  • NTIA is accepting public comments on “Information Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy” through June 7, 2010. The Notice of Inquiry (NOI) observes that “Consumers have expressed concern regarding new or unexpected uses of their personal information by online applications,” and that “companies need clear policies that enable the continued development of new business models and the free flow of data across state and international borders in support of domestic and global trade.” Accordingly, NTIA seeks comment on whether and to what extent the existing privacy framework should be modified and how to address jurisdictional conflicts that may arise between state and federal laws. The full NOI is available online here.