Google Caught Collecting Private Data, Again

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by zebrahat, May 19, 2010.

  1. zebrahat

    zebrahat Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Aug 6, 2008
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    If appears G can't help it but to 'accidentally' pick up info on people and sites while doing 'photo' compilation work. Yet it can never bring itself to disclose what data it actually collected:

    Germany Asks Google to Surrender Private Data
    BERLIN — Google came under increased pressure in Europe on Tuesday over its collection of private data from unsecured home wireless networks as a German regulator threatened legal action if the company did not surrender a hard drive for inspection.

    The German demand underscored the seriousness of the quandary Google now faced after its admission last Friday that it had stored the snippets of Web sites and personal e-mail messages from people around the world while compiling its Street View photo archive.

    Johannes Caspar, the data protection supervisor for the city-state of Hamburg, where Google's German headquarters are located, said Tuesday that he had given Google until May 26 to hand over one of the hard drives that it had used to collect and store information in Germany, where Street View is not yet available.

    Through a spokesman, Google reiterated its offer to destroy the WLAN data in conjunction with regulators, but stopped short of saying it would hand over a hard drive, which would allow regulators to see for the first time what kind of data had been collected.

    Viviane Reding, the European Union's justice commissioner, criticized Google for not cooperating with German privacy officials.

    "It is not acceptable that a company operating in the E.U. does not respect E.U. rules," she said in a statement released by her office.

    Mr. Caspar, who is leading the government's discussions with Google, said in an interview: "Up until now, all we have to go on at this point is what Google has told us that they have collected. But until we can inspect one of the hard drives ourselves, we will not know to what extent what kinds of data have actually been stored."

    Prodded by Mr. Caspar and other officials in Germany, Google last week said it had collected 600 gigabytes of data from unsecured wireless area networks, or WLANS, from around the world as its roving cars compiled a photo archive for Street View.

    The admission was sharply criticized in Germany, and came less than two weeks after Google had assured officials that it had stored only two pieces of WLAN data: the unique identification number of the device, called a MAC address, and its assigned name....