Illinois Joins in Google Street View Privacy Investigation

Investigation proves wether search engine gathered private information from Illinois residents

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    Lisa Madigan |
    Attorney General Lisa Madigan is among the most popular politicians in Illinois. She's the daughter of the prominent House Speaker Mike Madigan. She declined the Democratic nomination for US Senate and denied interest in running for mayor, but sources say she would like the job.

    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is joining with other authorities around the world to investigative Google.

    On Wednesday Madigan announced her office will look into whether Google violated privacy laws when they collected personal information from Illinois resident while they were gathering data for its popular Street View service.

    “It is disturbing that Google has been collecting this data since 2007,” Madigan said in a statement online.  “ We have asked Google to explain in detail exactly what information it has collected and what it is doing with the information.  Illnoisans deserve these answers.”

    The Google Street View search engine allows users to see actual pictures of neighborhoods and cities when using any of its map services.  Google gathers these images by sending vehicles all over the world to photograph streets, homes and buildings. 

    Last month, Google came under fire when it admitted those vehicles captured private data from people who were logged onto open Wi-Fi networks when the vehicles passed through. The vehicles snatched up emails, passwords, and browsing information was snatched up.  Since then, Google has faced a firestorm of civil and criminal investigations from European countries as well as Australia.

    “That was a mistake, but we don’t believe we did anything illegal,” said Christine Chen, a Google spokeswoman reports the New York Times.  “We’re working with relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

    Here in the U.S. the incident opened Google to congressional inquiry and class action lawsuits from various states.

    On June 9th, Madigan and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley joined forces and sent a letter to Google asking for specifics on what information Google Street View collected from Illinois and Massachusetts residents.

    Attorneys general in Missouri and Connecticut, as well as authorities in Germany and Australia, are also investigating separately.