Saturday, October 23, 2010

The big Google is watching you

German officials aren't buying Google's excuse that it harvested WiFi data by accident. Last week Google revealed that it had unintentionally collected WiFi data from open routers using its Google Street View cars.

The data was only discovered when the German Data Protection Authority asked to audit the WiFi data collected by the Google Street View team.

Google said that up until the time of the audit, it had been under the impression that it was only collecting MAC addresses and SSID information. However, the audit showed that Google had been collected fragments of payload data from open WiFi networks.

Data collected by Google included emails and web addresses users were viewing. Google said that it would be deleting all of this extra data and said a third party would be brought in to ensure this was done in the correct manner. However, it seems Peter Schaar, Germany's federal commissioner for data protection, and freedom of information, is not satisfied with Google's story.

"So everything was a mistake, a software bug! The data was collected and stored without the authorization of the project's managers or even the company's managers. If we go along with this story, this means the software was used without having been properly tested beforehand," he said, according to TGDaily.

Indeed, Germany is not the only country who has found issue with Google's behavior. The Irish Data Protection Authority Friday contacted Google and asked that all data accidentally harvested in Ireland be deleted.

Google today confirmed that this Irish data was deleted over the weekend in the presence of an independent third party.

No comments: