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June 24, 2010

UK police look into Google street view complaints

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by David Allen

The police could be looking into a complaint by the human rights organisation Privacy International, about the way that cars gathered information for the Google Street View project.

It became known that Google had also been collecting information on Wi-Fi networks as the Google Street View cars drove around the streets taking images for the service.

Now it seems that following the complaint, the Metropolitan Police are investigating Google’s action in collecting data from unsecured home Wi-Fi networks, which could be in breach of the regulation of investigatory powers act (RIPA).

The investigation will mean that staff at Google’s UK office will be interviewed and the company’s data looked into.

Google should be used to this, because it is just one of the many similar investigations going on around the world.

Story link: UK police look into Google street view complaints


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9 Comments »
  1. all i can say is good! google never mentioned to me they were collecting wi fi details

    Comment by Dave — June 24, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  2. Sheesh leave it be. They made a mistake. Dealt with it. And actually apologised for it and admitted complete fault.
    On top of that they invited an impartial third party to review what had happened and ensure the data was properly disposed off.
    It was only supposed to map publicly available commercial wifi hotspots. If anything the people who left their wireless networks open are most at fault, I hope they get a wake up call before someone malicious steals their data. Or they get sued cause the 10 year old next door was torrenting.

    They did right by everyone. Everyone’s privacy was protected by Google up to its handover of the data to privacy investigation bodies.

    Comment by Keith — June 24, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  3. “They made a mistake. Dealt with it”

    The law is apparently dealing with what appears to be a serious breach in the law.

    Comment by Brian Turner — June 24, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  4. Keith, I don’t understand how you figure a billion dollar multinational collecting people’s private data is somehow a protection of privacy?

    Comment by Emma S — June 24, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  5. Yes it may have been a breach in the law. And I also see that what occurred is severely misunderstood.

    No private data was to be collected as part of the project.

    The devices which were built to map public accessible wifi networks. Which is freely public information and which is done my a number of other companies.

    An error in software caused small amounts of data from unencrypted residential wireless networks to be collected.

    When this was discovered Google immediately grounded the Street View cars and immediately had a third party address what had happened, what data had been collected, and to ensure that said data was properly disposed of.
    They have also instigated a number of internal reviews to ensure mistakes like should not be made again.

    Yes it may have been a breach in privacy. But it was entirely due to a mistake. And as far as I am concerned the way it was handled by the company was exemplary.

    @Emma you misinterpreted my statement. I never said that collecting it was a protection of privacy. What I was inferring was that collected data was handled in such a way that it was not accessible by anyone except the investigating bodies, which I do believe falls under the meaning of protection.

    Comment by Keith — June 24, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  6. will people PLEASE STFU about this? Seriosuly google this, google that, you want to complain about the cameras etc complain about the billions of fecking security cameras that ACTUALLY SPY ON US rather than a bloody photo.

    Yes I know this article is about the wifi but ffs how much whining must people do?

    These people are angry because they were made to look STUPID. Any idea why, oh I know, because the ARE. Protect your wireless, don’t get angry because you didnt read some basic manuals.

    It is all right there, read it don’t expect magic to keep you safe and don’t whine when it doesn’t!

    AAAARRRRGGGHH.

    Comment by james — June 24, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  7. Also, when as a country, we must find billions, should we really care about an investiogation which can and will only produce the result: stupid people have unencrypted wireless.

    Comment by james — June 24, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  8. If you left your wireless unprotected, you could do a lot worse than just Google getting hold of your info. serves you right for not being responsible.

    Comment by Dave — June 24, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

  9. I believe Google screwed up, but that it really was an accident. There’s not much they can do with a snippet of data here and there (even if the total data adds up to 600 GB) - which is about all they get while driving. They have tons more information about people from searches and their other products.

    What would bother me more than Google having my data (if I were among those who failed to secure their wifi routers) is the thought of the politicians, lawyers, judges and bureaucrats reviewing the data!

    Comment by Claudia — June 24, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

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