Report: Google Scooped Aussies’ Personal Data
A US Federal Communications Commission report revealed that tech company Google is completely aware of harvesting personal data of households in Australia. These data include passwords, emails, and other personal information.
The US commission has launched a 17-month investigation on Google Street View, a technology that allows Google to have a panoramic view of many streets all over the world.
The investigation revealed that from May 2007 to May 2010, Google Street View gathered data from Wi-Fi networks to establish locations of users, which are then used to provide location-based services. The anomaly came when Google also gathered data that are not related to the Street View project like emails, passwords, text messages and other important details.
When regulators questioned Google what kind of information they gathered, the company refused to be specific, saying that disclosure is a violation of wiretapping and privacy laws. It maintained, however, that the data collection was legal.
A spokeswoman from Google said the company is enforcing stricter controls on privacy as a result of the issues surrounding Street View. She added that now the investigation is over, everyone can now move forward.
When the breach was first leaked two years ago, the company said the data collection was an unauthorized move of an engineer who acted on his own. Google also insisted that the data collected were never used on any Google product.
Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg said a rogue Google engineer was behind the data collection.
The US Federal Communications Commission said that the tech giant did not violate any laws. The commission, however, imposed a US$25,000 fine on Google.