Friday, May 14, 2010

Google Knows...

Google is now your 'Big Brother' - with all the 1984 connotations!
Google has collected personal internet data from NZ homes, including the names and unique numbers associated with residents' wireless networks...all without their knowledge or consent. How? By multi-tasking its Street View cars...
Street View involved cars travelling the world's streets with 3D cameras, capturing panoramic views to overlay with Google Maps. When that came on-stream, we all thought it was fab... and started googling images of friends' houses everywhere. So, on the one hand, the data is publicly available and being happily used but, on the other hand, consumers never dreamed their wireless points would be used for data snatching.
Google argues that, as the info is public, it's not breaking any laws but concedes the gathering "could have been better publicised". Privacy advocates want assurances that its use will not extend beyond Google Maps: after all, it's only the company's word as a guarantee it's not misusing the data. But despite ten governments (including NZ) requesting details, Google has not issued any explanation. Perhaps its PR department is still drafting a believable answer!
PS: 15 May 2010 - Google's answer..."Opps! Sorry."
PS: 07 June 2010 - "Sorry" isn't good enough! Australia launches a probe into Google's Street View.
PS: 12 July 2010 - Google found guilty by Oz of privacy breaches...

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