has raised concerns on more than one occasion from users and privacy
advocates who are concerned about the wealth of private data Google
collects and stores. This information includes search history of
users who use the search engine and more.One of the more
controversial programs that Google runs is its Street View program.
Google sends cars outfitted with cameras and other tech to drive
around and capture images of streets, homes, and buildings to make
navigation easier for users. The problem is that the cars have
captured information that raised privacy and security concerns. The
most notable breach of security was when Street View cars took photos
of military bases in some states, which some say could be
used to plan terrorist attacks.Google Street View cars also
captured information from public Wi-Fi networks as they drove around
including the SSID and MAC address of routers on protected networks.
Google has maintained that it does not capture any payload data from
these networks. However, Google is now saying that on inspection of
the data it has been capturing, prompted by a request form the Data
Protection Authority in Germany, it has discovered that it did in
some payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.Google
is adamant that it did not use the payload data in any Google
products and that typically only small fragments of the data were
captured at all. The small amounts of captured data are attributed to
the fact that the Street View cars are in motion and change Wi-Fi
channels about five times each second.Google states that a
person would have had to be using the Wi-Fi network at the exact time
a Street View car drove by and would have to be on a non-secure
network for this to be an issue. However, Google says that it has
grounded its Street View car fleet after learning of the issue and is
working with regulators in multiple countries to determine how to
dispose of the collected data.Google has also stated that
after this experience that it will stop its Street View cars from
gathering Wi-Fi data at all. To maintain trust Google is getting a
third-party to review the software that caused the problem. As Google
explains it, the way the Street view cars were able to capture
payload data from unsecured networks was due to code placed in a
portion of the software back in 2006 by an engineer working on an
experimental Wi-Fi project. That code was later incorporated into
Google's Street View system without Google realizing the code was
there. Google will also review its internal procedures to be sure
this sort of problem doesn't happen in the future.Google uses
this issue as a cautionary tale for users on unsecured wireless
networks writing, "This incident highlights just how publicly
accessible open, non-password-protected Wi-Fi networks are today.
Earlier this year, we encrypted Gmail for all our users, and next
week we will start offering an encrypted version of Google Search."
quote: Google Says That It Collected Data from Open Wi-Fi Networks by Accident
quote: Not EVERYONE is an IT person or computer savvy.
quote: Google uses this issue as a cautionary tale for users on unsecured wireless networks writing, "This incident highlights just how publicly accessible open, non-password-protected Wi-Fi networks are today. Earlier this year, we encrypted Gmail for all our users, and next week we will start offering an encrypted version of Google Search."