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Right of Personal Privacy Upheld In Google Street View Case, Class Counsel Announces

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Google’s interception of private Wi-Fi communications by its Street View vehicles violates the federal Wiretap Act. Commenting on the decision, Kathryn E. Barnett of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, stated:

“Although technology continually advances, the right to privacy in our homes endures. We are reassured that our courts continue to uphold personal privacy as an important value, indeed it is a core American value enshrined in our Constitution and our communications statutes.”

Lieff Cabraser serves as Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel in multi-district litigation in federal court in San Francisco against Google arising out of its interception of electronic communications by Google's Street View vehicles.

Google Street View vehicles are equipped with cameras to take 360 degree views of streets and 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas with custom-designed software for the capture and storage of wireless signals and data. Since 2007, Google has deployed its Street View vehicles across the U.S.

Plaintiffs in the nationwide class action lawsuit are individuals who reside in various states and who maintained a Wi-Fi network in their homes. They used their Wi-Fi connection to send and receive private data, including usernames, passwords and personal email messages.

The consolidated class action charges that Google's Street View vehicles not only collect images for inclusion in Google Maps and Google Earth, but also are secretly imbedded with a wireless sniffer system (also referred to as a packet analyzer) that intercepts electronic communications and other data transmitted over class members' wireless network. While Google issued press releases disclosing its intent to utilize the vehicles to take photos, it failed to disclose its capture of Wi-Fi data. Google allegedly stored class members' data on its servers, and the data includes email messages, usernames, passwords and other private data.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a sixty-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville. We are among the largest law firms in the United States that only represent plaintiffs.

A strong, principled sense of social responsibility drives us. We are committed to achieving justice for consumers, employees, patients, investors, and small business owners; promoting safer products and fair competition; protecting our environment; assisting whistleblowers stop fraud in government contracts and services; safeguarding the rights of inventors; and remedying violations of civil and human rights. Learn more at www.lieffcabraser.com

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