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Google Street View Car  (Source: Google)
Investigation centers on capture of Wi-Fi data

Google's Street View has raised the ire of the U.S. and foreign governments on more than a few occasions. The Street View service sends a fleet of cars out to drive down roads around the country and shoot images as a driver would see them.

Google has found itself in hot water in South Korea over the capture of data from Wi-Fi users by its Street View vehicles. South Korean law enforcement has stated that the data collection was related to the launch of Street View within South Korea.

A statement was released by the Korean National Police Agency stating,"[The police] have been investigating Google Korea LLC on suspicion of unauthorized collection and storage of data on unspecified Internet users from Wi-Fi networks."

South Korea isn’t the only place that Google has been met with legal proceedings over the collection of data by Street View vehicles. Reports first surfaced in Europe concerning the data capture issue – Google maintains that the collection of data by the fleet from unsecured wireless networks was an accident maintains.

Google has provided the copied data to European regulators for investigation.

Canadian authorities have also launched a probe into the capture of Wi-Fi data from unprotected networks within its borders. Google has also been hit with lawsuits in the U.S. that stem from collecting similar data in America.

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RE: Fail
By stirfry213 on 8/10/2010 12:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
My question is, what possible use could collecting this data be good for? I don't see the connection between Street View and WiFi data. It was likely junk data anyways, people browsing pr0n or worse... facebook. Besides, anyone transmitting anything of serious value on an unsecured network is an idiot.

Were they planning on releasing a list of WiFi SSIDs? How would that create anything but trouble for them? I just don't understand why this was implemented in the first place.

RE: Fail
By Schrag4 on 8/10/2010 12:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. The conspiracy theorist in me (we all have one, admit it) suggests to me that they were doing dirty work for some US Govt agency. Let's have some fun with this and submit your speculations!

Maybe the street-view-vehicles in the US were looking for some specific russian-made networking hardware to try to find more of those russian spies!

RE: Fail
By stirfry213 on 8/10/2010 12:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
I have to admit I considered the more nefarious uses of this information. If that's the case, why would they have made public the fact that they obtained it in the first place? From it seems, they could have held on to the information and likely little would have happened. Like I stated, it just doesn't make sense.

RE: Fail
By mindless1 on 8/10/2010 8:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
They made it public because they are going to offer services that would obviously be using such data, otherwise there was no point in collecting the data in the first place.

RE: Fail
By petrosy on 8/10/2010 7:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
They were collecting information for their Alien Overlords... once all teh wifi data has been harvested the invasion can commence....

Die you pitiful humans!!!!

RE: Fail
By mindless1 on 8/10/2010 8:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Remember that above all else Google sells ads. The more they know about their audience the more valuable ad space is in targeting people, and even when they can't monetize a set of data they can still use it as a web service to keep people using Google, keeping visitor count higher so they still serve up more ads.

You are incorrect that anyone transmitting anything of serious valule on an unsecured network is an idiot. That's why we have application level encryption. If someone wants your valuable data and you don't have THAT, it is a trivial thing to hook a black box up to your telephone or cable line - wifi isn't significant except from the perspective of lan client vulnerability for purposes of infection, or direct data theft from lan data stores.

Granted, a black box requires more physical interaction and cost, but if it is "valulable" data, it would be a targeted attack, you can't just sit outside someone's house all week 24/7 just in case the guy "might" visit his bank website at some point.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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