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Google refuses German request for illegally collected Wi-Fi data

  Google Street View Car                 (Byrion)

It was first revealed that Google Street View cars were collecting wireless data in April, but Google said that no personal data from Wi-Fi networks was involved. However after an audit requested by Germany, Google acknowledged it had been mistakenly collecting samples of "payload data."

"They told us yesterday that they refuse to give the hard drive because they are afraid they could breach German telecommunication law," said Johannes Caspar, who heads the German Data Protection Agency, on Thursday.

Wasn't Google breaching German telecommunication laws itself?

The New York Times reported that Google missed a Wednesday deadline to turn over the data it collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars, a practice which Google has said was done mistakenly but has raised privacy concerns around the globe.

According to Reuters, at least four additional lawsuits have been filed in the US, one of which was on the belief that data collected “included e-mails, video, audio and other payload data belonging to users and operators of home-based Wi-Fi Networks."

The Federal Trade Commission has a probe underway, as do several EU nations.

So what was Google thinking?

They would have had to spend a huge amount of money to install wireless sniffing equipment on the Street View cars, only to say it was a mistake? And why aren't they sharing the data collected with the security agencies of the counties they victimized? They claim they were only collecting SSID (Service Set Identifier) information and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, but even this practice would be a violation of privacy. I wonder if Google will share their MAC addresses with us?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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