“Oops, I did it again” – Google

by Shijaz Abdulla on 16.05.2010 at 16:12

Google has said sorry again to the public after inadvertently collecting 600 GB of personal wireless data on people’s unencrypted wireless networks, which may even include personal emails.

Last Friday, Google revealed that its Street View cars were collecting sensitive personal information from wireless networks in addition to taking pictures of the world’s roadways. Today Google announced that they are going to stop collecting Wi-Fi information altogether.

Interesting to note that this adds to the long string of privacy issues surrounding Google:

  • Google has already been collecting publicly broadcast SSID information (Wi-Fi network names) and MAC addresses
  • Google Chrome allows Google to know to each and every URL or even partial URL as you type it in the location bar, by the keystroke. It keeps sending this information back to Google without asking you, this means they know what you’re looking at with their browser!
  • In its 2007 Consultation Report, Privacy International ranked Google as “Hostile to Privacy”, its lowest rating on their report, making Google the only company in the list to receive that ranking. Read the report.
  • Google’s Gmail is the only email provider that reviews the contents of users’ mail and uses it  to improve relevance of advertisements.
  • The launch of Google Buzz, Google’s social networking service resulted in anyone with a Gmail account being automatically added as a contact to pre-existing Gmail contacts. Google Buzz immediately drew criticism for violating user privacy because it automatically allowed Gmail users’ contacts to view their other contacts.
  • Google’s online map service, Street View, has been accused of taking pictures of people’s private homes and taking pictures of people who walk down the street without their permission, not knowing they are being watched on Google’s online service.
  • Google saves your internet searches for 2 years on their systems.
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