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Google: accidental stealing of personal data

11 November 2010, by — admin ()

Google is one of the largest internet companies who, in the process of collecting data for its Google Street View service became embroiled in a scandal related to personal data security. Data for this service is collected by cars, installed with special equipment, which drive around city streets.

The scandal began in Germany, whose inhabitants pay rather close attention to their personal information security. They expressed their concern regarding the possible appearance of people, numbers of houses and cars on Street View. Following their demands this data was removed, almost 250 thousand houses disappeared from the service’s database.

The second strand of the scandal began when it was discovered that Google cars accidentally connect to all wireless networks that they encounter and collect some information. Google management confirmed the interception, but described it as an accident. Code from a different program was included, apparently by mistake, in the car antenna algorithm. Meanwhile, the volume of information captured from other Wi-Fi networks was almost 600 gigabytes (a quarter of networks in European towns are completely unsecured).

At the moment, public organisations in more than 30 countries are demanding that the internet company be charged with breaking laws on information security.

In order to help defuse this conflict, Google promised to delete collected data and also appointed Alma Whitten as Director of Privacy to protect the interests of users and their personal data.

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