Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Have you secured your wi-fi network? Perhaps you should..

Secure your wi-fi network..
Google in trouble again over Street view Cars data uploads
Big article in the Sunday Times 27th May 2012
In 2009/2010, Google sent out “Street View Cars” around the world to gather data to launch “street View” – the ability to zoom in on a Google map and actually see what the road/landmark looks like.  This service – as this author knows well – is very useful if you are going somewhere you haven’t been before and have little sense of direction on a map.
HOWEVER – there was an outcry at the time that privacy was being invaded – cameras peering over boundary fences, through front windows and the like.. the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office – privacy regulator in the UK) investigated these claims at the time and found that, according to information provided by Google, not much personal data was being collated and they (Google) would block faces, number plates etc.  The ICO also told Google to delete all the data it had collated for which it had no business purpose..
BUT an American investigation has now uncovered further documentation – presumably previously not shown to the ICO – that clearly reveal that software was designed for the vehicles to intentionally  capture “personal data from home computers for use in other products” – emails, text messages, passwords, photographs, etc from unsecured wi-fi networks.
If ever there was an advert to convince you that you should secure your network – this is surely it!
In May 2010 Google stated that software had been installed “by mistake”.
According to the Sunday Times Article, this was definitely not the case!  In light of the American Report, all European data protection regulators are being urged by the European Commission to re-open investigations.
Google are quoted in the Article as saying..
“We have always been clear that the leaders of this project did not want or inted to use this payload data. Indeed Google never used it in any of our products or services”
Then the question has to be – why did Google collect the data? Collecting it when you don’t have a use for it is just as illegal (under the UK Data Protection Act 1998) as using it for nefarious purposes! – at least to this author’s understanding of the legislation.
This is a story without end currently......

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