German official rebukes Google for collecting private data with Street Views
Over the weekend, Germany's consumer protection minister rebuked Google for collecting snippets of user data off of Wi-Fi networks around the world since 2006.
The activity, which Google admitted to late Friday afternoon, was done as it expanded its Street View mapping application. The company hopes to use the application for location based services. On Friday, Google said in a blog that it had only discovered it was collecting user information off unencrypted Wi-Fi networks after it was asked by the German government to audit its data collection activity as part of its Street View photo archive.
What Google found specifically was that Street View cars passing by homes collected information off residential Wi-Fi networks that went beyond user names and addresses. Google apologized for the error, which it said was inadvertent and part of an engineering error.
But that didn't sit well with German regulators, who said the activity broke local laws.
"According to the information available to us so far, Google has for years penetrated private networks, apparently illegally," Germany's minister of consumer protection Ilse Aigner said in a statement Saturday, according to the Associated Press. She called the admission an "alarming incident."
A Google spokesperson said the company was still talking with European regulators and had nothing additional to say beyond the blog post on Friday. Google said it would dispose of the data it had collected. U.S. regulators haven't weighed in, but the activity comes as the federal government moves closer to create a law and regulatory framework to protect Internet users as businesses seek more refined data on users to sell advertising.
May 17, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Google , Privacy
Save & Share: Previous: Cellphone cancer study inconclusive; researcher urges more study
Next: U.K. social media subscribers are limiting their networks: Ofcom
Posted by: LiveinSanDiego | May 17, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hansschmucker | May 17, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Post17 | May 17, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: HippopotamusMan | May 17, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: lquarton | May 18, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.