Google Tracking WiFi Payloads Admission
Google Tracking WiFi Payloads Admission – Google recently admitted to tracking WiFi payloads. The story first broke a few weeks ago, and it is likely a story that Google would like to avoid discussing publicly, with recent concerns with user privacy on Facebook. However, Google recently acknowledged that their StreetView cars have also been collecting WiFi network information including SSID’s and MAC addresses of these networks. Google said that many other groups are collecting the information, and that since they are not releasing the information in any form there really is no security breach in what they are doing. Google has stated that they do not believe that the practice is illegal. They denied collecting anything else from their street cars, which included data being transferred across the network. Google recently released a statement about the developments;
“It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products,” Google said in their statement.
Google has stated that the code that was used in StreetView for tracking the networks was actually reused from a 2006 experimental WiFi project. It was not immediately clear if Google meant that they were , at least at first, unaware that the data was being collected. They said that when StreetView was first launched, they didn’t want to track the data using the machine, and instead of using the collected data it went unnoticed for quite some time.
Once they realized that the data they had been collecting could be legitimately useful for future endeavors, they decided to take a closer look. Google is going to have to work harder in the future to ensure that individuals maintain their privacy when using Google tools. In this case, no one even was informed that their information was being collected by a car driving past.