From The Daily Mail U.K.
Google is facing an inquiry into claims that it deliberately harvested information from millions of UK home computers.
The Information Commissioner data protection watchdog is expected to examine the work of the internet giant’s Street View cars.
They downloaded emails, text messages, photographs and documents from wi-fi networks as they photographed virtually every British road.
It is two years since Google first admitted stealing fragments of personal data, but claimed it was a ‘mistake’.
Now the full scale of its activities has emerged amid accusations of a cover-up after US regulators found a senior manager was warned as early as 2007 that the information was being captured as its cars trawled the country but did nothing.
Around one in four home networks in the UK is thought to be unsecured – lacking password protection – allowing personal data to be collected. Technology websites and bloggers have suggested that Google harvested the information simply because it was able to do so and would later work out a way to use it to make money.
The slow reaction of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to deal with the data theft is in direct contrast to the vigorous efforts of watchdogs in Germany, France and even the Czech Republic.
The fact that the Government was at the same time courting executives at Google opens up uncomfortable questions about its relationship with the company.
Last month a report by the US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revealed that the Google programmer who wrote the Street View software repeatedly warned that it collected personal data, and called for a legal and privacy review.
Yesterday he was named as Marius Milner, 41, a British software engineer from Hove, East Sussex, who now lives in California. He has pleaded the fifth amendment against self-incrimination and refused to answer investigators’ questions.
……In Germany Google was forced to stop filming for Street View owing to privacy concerns by Hamburg prosecutors, who opened a criminal investigation.
In France Google was fined £87,000 by the privacy regulator CNIL, the largest it had ever handed out.
In the Czech Republic Street View was banned in September 2010 after negotiations between Google and the authorities over privacy concerns failed.
I stopped using Google years ago when I could no longer tolerate their left-leaning crap. In 2005, Google kowtowed when China cracked down on political dissidents using the site as an outlet, and even handed over the names of dissidents who posted on Google. Those people are either suffering in prison or dead.
Google’s WiFi snooping was detailed in an April 2012 report by the FCC, which revealed that the streetview vehicles were also equiped with software that captured passwords, private emails, text messages, Internet usage history, and other highly sensitive user information.
Google has yet to give a complete explanation of why the data was collected and who at the company knew about it. No regulator in the US has ever seen the information that Google’s cars gathered from private households.
They’ve been doing it for quite sometime and gawd only knows what kind of information they have in their database.
- Google Accused of Stealing Info With Street View Cars (webpronews.com)
- Google Street View case may see further action in UK (slashgear.com)