EPIC has filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit urging the court to affirm legal protections for users of home Wi-Fi networks. In Joffe v. Google, the plaintiffs sued Google for the interception and capture of private communications transferred over residential Wi-Fi networks. Google argued that it should be exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act because Wi-Fi communications are "readily accessible to the general public." However, a lower court held that saying "that a network is unencrypted does not render that network readily accessible to the general public and serve to remove the intentional interception of electronic communications from that network from liability under the ECPA." EPIC's brief for the Court of Appeals, which contains a detailed technical discussion of Wi-Fi technology, explains that residential Wi-Fi networks are unlike traditional radio broadcasts and should be protected Electronic Communications Privacy Act. EPIC also said that consumers should not bear the burden of securing their networks against sophisticated eavesdroppers when the purpose of the ECPA is to protect communications from such interception. For more information, see EPIC: Investigation of Google Street View, EPIC: Ben Joffe v. Google.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler