By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - A federal appeals court rejected Google Inc's bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating federal wiretap law when its accidentally collected emails and other personal data while building its popular Street View program.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to exempt Google from liability under the federal Wiretap Act for having inadvertently intercepted emails, user names, passwords and other data from private Wi-Fi networks to create Street View, which provides panoramic views of city streets.
"It's a landmark decision that affirms the privacy of electronic communications for wireless networks," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C.