Google admits collecting Wi-Fi data through Street View cars

Google has been accidentally gathering extracts of personal web activity from domestic wifi networks through the Street View cars it has used since 2007.

As well as systematically photographing streets and gathering 3D images of cities and towns around the world, Google's Street View cars are fitted with antennas that scan local wifi networks and use the data for its location services.

A Google maping car

Goolge says at blogs;
"It is now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open wifi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products."

"As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and are currently reaching out to regulators in the relevant countries about how to quickly dispose of it."

Google said the discovery highlighted the vulnerability of data in open wifi networks. It has previously said other companies, including Skyhook and Microsoft, already scan wifi networks and gather information in this way.

Google Street View has been introduced in more than 20 countries, and has also been extended outside the initial 21 major UK cities.

Source : Jemima Kiss, The Guardian


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