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News Link • Technology: Software

Google Staff Said They Were Unaware of Data Gathering, FCC Says

•, By Brian Womack
 The unidentified engineer, who made the disclosure in an internal project document, also told at least two fellow workers about how the software program would access so-called payload data, which includes personal information such as e-mails, according to the FCC report, which was re-released yesterday by the company with fewer portions redacted.
The FCC compiled the report as part of an investigation into whether Google’s collection of private data through its Street View map product was a violation of the Communications Act. The agency said in the April 13 document that it decided not to penalize Google for the data-gathering, though it assessed a $25,000 fine for not cooperating with the inquiry.

“Engineer Doe specifically told two engineers working on the project, including a senior manager, about collecting payload data,” the agency said in the report. “Nevertheless, managers of the Street View project and other Google employees who worked on Street View have uniformly asserted in declarations and interviews” that they didn’t know about the private-data gathering, which began in 2007, until April or May 2010.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

And what exactly is wrong or illegal about what Google did?  There is no expectation of privacy in public.   There is no expectation of privacy from a broadcasting transmitter.  So I do not know what Google collected with its drive by photos, but I suspect it noted any wifi in the area, certainly the SSID and what type of protocol / frequencies were being used along with encryption present or open.  And it's GPS location where detected.  Maybe signal strength from the street.  If it was open it might have tried to access the connection and acquire further connection data...but I assume all of this would occur over a matter of seconds as the Google vehicle drove past.  It could also make note of any other broadcasting devices in the area (bluetooth devices, cell phone, laptops, etc.).  I'm sure the government wants the data.  And want to make sure their broadcasting equipment wasn't logged as vehicles drove past their gates.

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