The Action Class: Restraining Order Blocks Google From Destroying Wardriving Data

Business Insider reports that not only was Google “wardriving” and hoovering up personal data in 30 countries in Europe—they were doing it in the US, too. And strangely enough, they were about to destroy the data before they got sued and hit with a restraining order faster than a code monkey can snarf a Ring Ding.

But they weren’t going to just destroy evidence like it was some Snapple bottle. No, no. That might be obstruction of justice either in the US or 30 other countries. “Google had announced its intention to consult with privacy advocates and governments about the best way to dispose of the data.” Ah yes, that excuse always worked well with the FBI–“Well, Mr. Special Agent, I consulted a privacy advocate and they told me I don’t need to provide you with somebody else’s data that I stole.”

A “privacy advocate.” A “privacy advocate.” “Mrs. Jones, I consulted with my privacy advocate and I don’t have to tell you which dog ate my homework, or even if I have a dog.”

So who might Google’s “privacy advocate” be and which “government” representative do they mean? Fred von Lohmann and Andrew McLaughlin? Now what do you think their advice might be?

Of course if Google destroyed the evidence, then no one would ever know how much they collected. Here’s the deal: If someone gets a look at the data that Google has been hoovering up around the world, they just might find out that it ain’t quite so accidental or innocent.

Or may be it is innocent and accidental. I’m sure that’s what the privacy advocate would tell them to say. Ask Limewire how that worked out for them.

And if you find out what data Google stole, the next question you might ask is what did they do with it? Have they incorporated it into any products or services? It really defies all credulity that The Smartest Guys in the Room didn’t know exactly what they were doing. And if it can be proven that they did, they are so, so screwed.

Of course, we all know how prevalent amnesia is at the Googleplex, and they probably have one of those EFF special document destruction policies (see paragraph 5.5 on the link). So proving it may not be so easy.

But it sounds like a judge in Oregon has every intention of finding out. Apparently “Residents of Oregon and Washington filed a class action suit over privacy violations, and requested a restraining order to ensure the data could be used as evidence.”

Here we go again. Google taking a de facto rateless compulsory license in somebody else’s property and telling the little people to stop us before we infringe again.

Next move? Google files a dec relief action in Santa Clara or San Jose as soon as they can get safely back to the Temporary Autonomous Zone and get one of their Stanford judges to give them a pass. Or at least that’s what they do to indie blues labels.

So let’s see–I make that 3 class action lawsuits against Google currently. And all of them–all–are for taking what belongs to someone else without their permission. Am I missing any?

You know–a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it’s a lot of money.

Stay tuned.