September 10, 2013

On September 10, 2013 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of Google’s motion to dismiss in Benjamin Joffe, et al v. Google Inc.  The panel affirmed the district court’s order denying Google’s request to dismiss claims that it violated the Wiretap Act when, in the course of capturing its Street View photographs, it also collected data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, including individuals’ home computer networks.  The panel held that Google’s data collection, as alleged by plaintiffs, could be a violation of the Wiretap Act because Wi-Fi communications are “electronic communications” that are not “readily accessible to the general public.”  The Court rejected Google’s argument that Wi-Fi communications are “radio communication” and its contention that this permitted Google to freely intercept them so long as they are not encrypted.
Cohen Milstein serves as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in this class action that was filed in May 2010.

Opinion – September 10, 2013 [PDF]