- Associated Press - Friday, December 10, 2010

HARTFORD, CONN. (AP) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Friday demanded that Google provide access to data the company said it accidentally collected from public Wi-Fi networks.

The Democratic U.S. senator-elect said he and the state Consumer Protection Department issued a “civil investigative demand,” which is like a subpoena, that says Google must provide access to the data by Dec. 17 or face being taken to court.

In May, Google announced that it had inadvertently collected fragments of people’s online activities from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries while taking photographs for its Street View mapping service.

Google’s disclosure prompted investigations around the globe. Blumenthal and officials in nearly 40 other states have been seeking to review the information to see if Google improperly accessed e-mails, passwords and other private data.

“Verifying Google’s data snare is crucial to assessing a penalty and assuring no repeat,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Consumers and businesses expect and deserve a full explanation, as well as measures shielding them from future spying.”

The company apologized again in a statement Friday, saying it never wanted the information and hasn’t used it in any products or services.

“We want to delete this data as soon as possible and will continue to work with authorities to determine the best way forward, as well as to answer their further questions and concerns,” the statement said.

Blumenthal said Google first said the data it gathered was fragmented, but later acknowledged that it might have captured entire e-mails and other information. He also said Google has refused to give his office access to the information while allowing Canadian and other authorities to review it.

“We will fight to compel Google to come clean,” Blumenthal said.