Google Inc (GOOG) recently announced that its appeal for a rehearing related to its Street View program in a federal appeals court was canceled. The court ruled that Google must face charges related to the violation of the federal wiretap law for its Street View program.
The U.S. court today reiterated its Sep 2013 ruling and declared that the Wi-Fi network data that Google had collected falls under the jurisdiction of the privacy protections of the U.S. Wiretap Act. The court also rejected Google’s request for a review of the ruling by a larger panel of judges.
Computer-users all over the world have accused Google of invading their privacy and the company has been fined too in this regard. Google, however, refuted the allegations arguing that it was not illegal under the Wiretap Act to intercept radio communications.
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In 2010, Google declared that it had gathered information by mistake from open wireless networks while capturing images of roadways and houses for Street View. It further declared that it would stop using Wi-Fi information for the service going forward.
These charges of intrusion into privacy may adversely affect the trustworthiness of the company. Moreover, Google may have to pay a hefty penalty if found guilty by the court, which will dent its cash balance.
This is not the first time that a tech company has been accused of invading privacy. In Mar 2012, 18 technology companies including the likes of Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL) and Twitter (TWTR), had been accused of similar charges by a group of thirteen individuals in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Google reported gross revenue of $14.89 billion in the third quarter of 2013, up 5.6% on a year-over-year basis. The company has expressed its intention to increase investment in its core products in the future.
Currently, Google has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).