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This article was published on May 14, 2010


Google Street View cars collected private data from WiFi by “mistake”

Google Street View cars collected private data from WiFi by “mistake”
Chad Catacchio
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Chad Catacchio

Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in th Chad Catacchio is a contributor writing on a variety of topics in tech. He has held management positions at a number of tech companies in the US and China. Check out his personal blog to connect with him or follow him on Twitter (if you dare).

Google has made a Friday afternoon admission that they did in fact mistakenly collect “fragments of payload data”, i.e. information (websites visited especially) from unsecured WiFi networks while driving around the world taking snapshots for Google Street View – for 3 years.

While Street View has more or less been accepted by the general public in the United States, Europeans have not taken as kindly to camera-equipped cars driving everywhere, and this news will certainly test the limits of the service in Europe.

In the blog post, Google admitted that they unintentionally collected this data (according to the New York Times, they previously denied to European regulators that the had done so) and that they have not only suspended further Street View car trips, but will also work with regulators to delete all of the data. They also insisted that they have not used the captured data in any way.

Evan Roth – who keynoted at The Next Web Conference a few weeks ago in Amsterdam – is going to have another field day with this one (watch his hilarious video showing just how much Google Street View cars are disliked in Europe).