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Google cars 'meant to collect internet info'

The Local · 30 Apr 2012, 15:48

Published: 30 Apr 2012 15:48 GMT+02:00

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An investigation by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) showed that a Google worker had written a computer programme so the cars would collect information about people’s internet surfing activities.

He thought that the information could be used to improve internet search algorithms, according to the FCC report released by Google at the weekend.

The car-mounted cameras used to create Google Street-View registered the location of wireless LAN stations to enable exact location finding – but between 2008 and 2010 they also picked up raw data from the internet connections.

The revelation has created a storm of protest internationally, particularly in Germany where sensitivity over privacy is high and many used the option forced upon Google to have their house pixellated on the final digital map.

Initially Google said it had been a mistake and that only tiny pieces of data had been collected – but now the FCC report shows that a software developer not only did it deliberately, but that emails and other complete data had been collected.

Story continues below…

The report begs the question of how a single member of staff could have turned such a controversial idea into practice without the alarm being raised in the company. He is said to have informed at least one superior – and sent an email to the whole Street-View team telling them of his plan.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:44 April 30, 2012 by Sayer
Shut 'em down. Today!
22:50 April 30, 2012 by Taboo
Why do v think stuff v put on the Internet is secure? I believe once I put stuff online anyone with average computer skills can access it, so I either don't put stuff out or I don't worry about it. Ano if there is someone with little else to do in life than read my emails then I hope I could give them something to brighten their day!
10:30 May 2, 2012 by raandy
True enough Taboo, what you send thru your router is out there for any savey hacker to obtain. emails are subject to scrutinization by many Governments, if you do not want something known ,don't send it via email.
20:05 May 4, 2012 by Acechaser
Who give's a s**t...
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