Readers have drawn our attention to a recent letter from EPIC's Marc Rotenberg to FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski.
In the detailed letter, Marc Rotenberg specifically calls attention to the mapping of private device identifiers, saying, “We understand that Google also downloaded and recorded a unique device ID, the MAC address, for wireless access devices as well as the SSID assigned by users.”
The capture of Wi-Fi data in this manner by Google Street View could easily constitute a violation of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, also known as the Wiretap Act, as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 to include electronic communications. Courts most oten define “interception” under ECPA as “acquisitions contemporaneous with transmission.” The Wiretap Act provides for civil liability and criminal penalties against any person who “intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any… electronic communication [except as provided in the statute].”
The Wiretap Act imposes identical liability on any person who “intentionally discloses … to any other person the contents of any… electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a[n] … electronic communication in violation of
this subsection,” or “intentionally uses … the contents of any… electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a[n]… electronic communication in violation of this subsection.”
Full text (including many footnotes elided in the quote above) is available in pdf and Word format. See also The Hill's technology blog.