May 26

For a couple of years now, Google has been using Street View cars to take photos of various cities all over the world for use in their street view program which will populate content in its various location based services such as the Google maps.
Unfortunately way back in 2006, one of their programmers wrote a program that grabbed personal data from various unsecured WIFI as is carried by these vehicles.
Because of this it has violated data collection policies which caused uproar of consumer groups and privacy organizations worldwide. The communications and privacy authority of some European countries, Australia and the US has criticized Google for this seemingly biggest violation of data privacy in history.
Google admitted to this oversight and promised to stop the supposed violation. It would have been worst if they had covered up the guffaw. Although they confessed to the “oversight”, they also said that they never collected information on who is using the WIFI connection or what sites are visited which was proved false once again by the privacy groups.
The extreme prevalence of various wireless devices such as printers connecting to various devices enabled the Google program to determine what type of connections and equipment a household may have.
A main concern would be how long these information will be stored in Google’s servers and how they will be used? Will they be sold to third party firms? Google in its public blog promised to put a stop to the program which mistakenly infringed on existing privacy laws. However class law suits are still being prepared to make Google accountable for the gross violation.
For whatever it is worth, Google’s blunder must serve as an eye-opener for the ordinary users of WIFI connection especially at home, to make sure connection is encrypted, in other words to create their own user ID and password, so as not to allow others to snoop into whatever information they have in their computers.

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One Response to “Google’s Breach Of Privacy”

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