Print 25 comment(s) - last by CZroe.. on Jun 14 at 9:15 PM

Google still says recording was an accident

Google has found itself mired in legal proceedings and bad press after it was forced to admit in mid-May that its Street View vehicles had accidentally recorded "payload data" from open wireless networks. Google admits that it was recording SSID and MAC addresses on secure networks, but maintains it was not aware that the payload data from open networks was being captured until a Germany regulatory authority asked to audit Wi-Fi data collection procedures.

Google has stated that it is now providing European regulators with the data it collected. Previously, Google had stated that it was reviewing how to hand over the data in Germany without violating any German laws. Google is also facing an informal inquiry in the U.S. by the FTC. Canada announced this week that it would launch an official investigation into the data collection. There are also several suits pending against Google in the U.S. by individuals who allege their unsecured network data was captured by Google.

The judge in one of the suits filed in Portland has already requested that Google turn over hard drives containing the data. Those hard drives are expected to be held for perusal if the evidence becomes relevant in the Portland suit.

Turning private network data over to governments and courts is something that privacy advocates generally resist. However, the Center for Digital Democracy is glad to see Google do this. Jeff Chester from the Center for Digital Democracy told the Wall Street Journal that this is an "honesty litmus test" for Google. He continued saying, "I have all kinds of reservations and concerns about having government forcing companies to turn over information. But in this case, this is the right thing to do."

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RE: Stop spreading my data!
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/5/2010 10:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that people haven't been stupid to not secure their networks, but still, it doesn't make it OK for Google to have done this.

Yes it does.

I'm sure that there are things that you know next to nothing about and expect legal and government protection, yet others might think that your mistakes or ignorance are stupid and you ask for all that you get.

There's a difference between getting screwed by the mechanic or the doctor's office and having your wireless network snooped on, because those first two are things that most people cannot just jump into and understand for themselves.

When you buy a wireless router, there are warnings all over the packaging about the importance of securing your network, and usually a giant sticker over the ports that says to run the setup CD. The CD then goes through the setup process step-by-step and does all the work for you. Anyone who didn't know how to do things manually but didn't follow the setup CD is either completely stupid or completely lazy (or both). In either case they deserve to have their data recorded. Negligence does not entitle one to government protection.

RE: Stop spreading my data!
By Aloonatic on 6/8/2010 3:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
So if you negligently forgot to lock your front door, you would have no problem with me being able to come in and take what I wanted? Or your (legal age) daughter or wife negligently forgot to close the curtains when they got out of the shower, you would have no problem with me taking a few happy snaps?

RE: Stop spreading my data!
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/10/2010 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your analogies are downright stupid because they constitute violations of other laws. They also have nothing to do with your previous line of argument which I was rebutting. An analogy that actually makes sense would be paparazzi photographing celebrities in public places. Is it invasive and annoying? Yes. Is it illegal? No.

RE: Stop spreading my data!
By Aloonatic on 6/10/2010 5:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
MY analogy was meant, as I have already explained to point out that Google went out of their way to do this, with forethought, as compared to anyone just being able to stumble upon this information with what they travel around with every day, as with the transparent walls analogy. It's quite simple and obvious that that is what I was referring too.

You know full well that my last comment blew you clean out of the water tho, Always funny to get someone on here to have to resort to name calling :) You realise that laws are there to protect people from wrong doing when they make mistakes and neglect to do things that may be obvious.

Your analogies are downright stupid because they constitute violations of other laws
You do know that it is illegal for you to roll up to my home and try to connect to my network and use it? Also, why are they illegal? Because it's wrong to do these things, and they are somewhat analogous to this situation too, and all that I have ever said is that what Google did is wrong. I've never said that they have broken any specific law, just that people pretending that it's OK for Google to abuse people like this is fine because they are stupid or lacking in knowledge. Anyway,you somewhat backing up my point really, so thanks.

RE: Stop spreading my data!
By Aloonatic on 6/11/2010 2:28:57 AM , Rating: 2
I may have been getting 2 threads mixed up there, however...

Basically, all I have ever argued is that Google are not absolved of any wrong doing simply because people did not lock down their networks, which is what it seems that many here are and have been saying. In case there has been any confusion, that is what my analogies were about.

I have no idea what your pap/celeb analogy has to do with anything. If you cannot see what I am getting at comparing Google coming along and snooping on your unlocked or unhidden network not being OK because you have left it open, just as we accept that someone coming along and doing the same I you leave your curtains or front door open, then I don't know what to tell you to be honest.

Do I have much sympathy for anyone who has fallen fowl of this and had their privacy invaded? No, not really. Just as I would not have much sympathy for someone who had every single possession that they owned stolen if they left their front door wide open, but I would not absolve the burglar of all guilt either.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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