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Google Faces Significant Class Action Liability In Privacy Case

Publication Date: 
September 11, 2013
Daily Journal
John Roemer

Professor Deborah Hensler spoke with John Roemer of the Daily Journal about the 3-0 ruling that opened Google to liability in a large potential class action and explained the obstacles the plaintiffs still face.

In a setback for Google Inc. but a win for Internet privacy, a federal appellate panel Tuesday ruled that the Wiretap Act does not protect the search giant's capture of home and business Wi-Fi data as part of its Street View venture.

The 3-0 ruling opened Google to liability in a large potential class action it had sought to duck by claiming it was exempt under a loophole in the law that allows interception of "electronic communication" that is "readily accessible to the general public."


"But there is still a hard road ahead for plaintiffs," noted Deborah R. Hensler of Stanford Law School, an authority on class actions. "They will still need to persuade the trial court judge to certify a massive class action comprising numerous subclasses. So this is an important step but by no means a clear signal as to who will ultimately prevail."