Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique Mac (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.
Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar says he's "horrified" by the discovery.
"I am appalled… I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View," according to German broadcaster ARD.
Spooks have long desired the ability to cross reference the Mac address of a user's connection with their real identity and virtual identity, such as their Gmail or Facebook account.
Other companies have logged broadcasting WLAN networks and published the information. By contrast Google has not published the WLAN map, or Street View in Germany; Google hopes to launch the service by the end of the year.
But Google's uniquely cavalier approach to privacy, and its potential ability to cross reference the information raises additional concerns. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide. And when there's nowhere left to hide...?
... the audit showed that Google had been collected fragments of payload data from open WiFi networks. Data collected by Google included emails and web addresses users were viewing. Google said that it would be deleting all of this extra data and said a third party would be brought in to ensure this was done in the correct manner.
"So everything was a mistake, a software bug! The data was collected and stored without the authorization of the project's managers or even the company's managers. [...]"
Germany Questions Google's Data ''Accident'' http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Google-Street-View,news-6816.html