[LINK] Google breached privacy and resumes data gathering

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Sat Jul 10 12:21:09 AEST 2010

> Watchdog finds Google breached privacy
> The Australian Privacy Commissioner has ruled that Google broke the  
> law by collecting wi-fi data from Australian homes and businesses.
> Several countries' privacy watchdogs began probing US-based Google  
> after it was revealed Street View vehicles were recording details of  
> information being sent on unsecured wi-fi networks.
> Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis said on the conclusion of her  
> investigation she was satisfied Google's actions would have breached  
> the Australian Privacy Act.
> In a media release, she said Google promised to provide her office  
> with details if it intends to capture personal information in new  
> Street View features.
> The company also promised to consult with the Privacy Commissioner  
> when significant products are launched in Australia that may capture  
> user data.
> "These steps will ensure Google's future products have privacy  
> protections built in rather than bolted on," she said.
> "Collecting personal information in these circumstances is a very  
> serious matter. Australians should reasonably expect that private  
> communications remain private."
> Ms Curtis said that because other authorities and agencies may still  
> be investigating Google, she did not want to comment in more detail.
> On the official Google Australia blog, the company's top engineering  
> executive Alan Eustace maintained the data was collected by mistake,  
> and was never used in any of its products or services.
> "As soon as we discovered our error, we announced that we would stop  
> collecting all wi-fi data via our Street View vehicles and removed  
> all wi-fi reception equipment from them," he said.
> "Maintaining people's trust is crucial to everything we do and we  
> have to earn that trust every single day. We are acutely aware that  
> we failed badly here."

> Google to resume gathering map data in 4 countries

> After conversations with regulators, the Internet search company  
> will start driving its cars in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and  
> Sweden from next week, it said on its European Public Policy blog.
> The cars will no longer collect wi-fi information, but will continue  
> to collect photos and 3D imagery.
> Google plans to add more countries in time, it said.
> In May, Google said the fleet of cars it used to take photos of  
> streets around the world for a three-dimensional mapping service had  
> collected personal information sent by consumers over wireless  
> networks. The information could include email messages and passwords.
> After the discovery of the error, Google had stopped collecting wi- 
> fi data and grounded its cars globally.
> The revelation led several countries around the world to launch  
> probes on the company's data collection methods. Consumers and  
> regulators are increasingly showing concern over the manner in which  
> websites handle personal information.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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