FTC called on to investigate Google WiFi data collection by Consumer Watchdog

May 18, 2010
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FTC called on to investigate Google WiFi data collection by Consumer Watchdog

Google has admitted after a German regulatory commission asked for information on its data collection policies for Street View that is has accidentally been gathering some "payload data" from unprotected WiFi networks with its Street View fleet. Google regularly captures SSID and Mac addresses of WiFi networks its Street View vehicles encounter on their meanderings.

The problem is that when Street View rides came across open WiFi networks the software used was also capturing some of the payload from these networks. Google maintains that it didn’t know its vehicles were gathering this data and that the data was not used for any purpose.

Consumer advocacy ground Consumer Watchdog is now asking the FTC to investigate Google to document what data was captured, how long the data has been captured for, and what Google did with the data. Google is working with regulators in several counters to dispose of the collected data and has already pledged to start a third party investigation into the issue. The Street View fleet is grounded until a resolution is found.


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