Last week, the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty announced that Wi-Fi data sniffed and collected by Google Inc.’s Street View cyborg car contained “fragments” of personal information. This week, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Connecticut Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, “will seek additional information from Google and determine whether laws may have been broken.” The paper goes onto write, “As many as 30 U.S. states could join forces to look into how Google Inc.’s Street View vehicles came to collect Internet user’s personal data from unsecured wireless networks.” Blumenthal, who is a candidate to replace the retiring Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), did not say whether charges would be filed, but rather explained that he wanted a “comprehensive explanation of how this unauthorized data collection happened, why the information was kept if collection was inadvertent, and what action will prevent a recurrence.” More →
Google confirmed last month that while snapping photos of the local flavor, the search giant was also inadvertently capturing packets of data from unsecured routers. Google downplayed the severity of this guffaw by reassuring people that only small, presumably useless, fragments of personal data were collected. Despite Google’s re-assurance, this admission caused a stir amongst privacy groups and prompted several agencies to take a closer look at the data that Google collected. The French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) was one such group and the first to officially get its hand on the stored data. CNIL announced the results of its investigation on Friday and revealed that the captured fragments included email passwords and extracted portions of email messages. Bad news for Google as this revelation is the perfect ammunition for groups already upset with Google and its management of a vast treasure trove of personal data. More →
Google came clean on its blog yesterday and admitted to accidentally collecting personal data while canvassing positioning data during Street View sweeps. The potentially damaging revelation came after the data protection authority (DPA) in Hamburg, Germany requested Google’s Street view data due to privacy concerns. An internal review of the collected data revealed that the software Google was using to compile and map SSID’s was also recording a portion of the of data that was being transmitted from those same Wi-Fi routers.
For those that unaware of the practice, Google Street View and other companies that provide Wi-Fi-based Location based services will travel around cities and towns collecting publicly broadcast SSID information. These SSIDs are then stored in a database with their associated GPS co-ordinates. This SSID-GPS information is then used in Wi-Fi triangulation. To slightly assuage fears of a widespread privacy breach, Google confirmed that the flaw only recorded personal data from open, non-password protected WiFi routers. Regardless of the extent of the breach, this could potentially explode in the face of Google and other similar mapping companies that collect public information from personal Wi-Fi routers. More →
After being ousted from the Great North by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in 2007, Google has been given a reprieve in some Canadian cities. Greater Toronto, Montréal, Metro Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and other large communities now have Google Street view data available both in the browser and on the iPhone in the Maps application. According to CBC News, Google continued to film some of Canada’s major cities while trying to address the privacy concerns of the Commissioner. Sneaky, sneaky. If you want to get your Street View on, it’s available for use as of today.
[Via The iPhone blog]
Hey ladies and gents, the long-awaited iPhone update, which includes Google Maps Street View, is finally here and ready for your downloading pleasure. At 246MB, it’s going to take a little while before you can enjoy all that 2.2 has to offer. New features include, of course, Street View for Google Maps and walking and public transportation directions. Perfect for you city-dwellers. The update also fixes call failures and dropped calls – a definite bonus for those of you who have experiencing a little trouble with making, or even the inability to make, calls. Another big addition to the iPhone is the ability to stream and download podcasts straight through iTunes over WiFi and the network – bonus! So, fire up your computers and get crackin’ as this new update shows a lot of promise and improvements to an already solid OS.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
The smoke has cleared, the dust has settled and T-Mobile’s G1 release event is history. We gave you plenty of live blogging action despite the fact our brand new Dell Latitude XT tried as hard as it could to screw the pooch. Then we gave you a solid hands-on gallery to feast your eyes on. Now it’s time for the wrap up; our thoughts about the HTC G1. First and foremost, don’t be fooled. In the leaked images and even in some of our gallery shots the G1 looks a bit cheap and plasticky. Seriously though, it’s not bad at all. The main case of the handset has that great rubbery feel from the Touch et al, and the phone has a very good weight to it. It’s not heavy at all but it’s also not too light so as to feel like a tinker toy. We like the slight bow of the G1 toward the bottom where the call/end/etc buttons are as it created a nice ergonomic fit when the phone is flipped sideways to expose the QWERTY keyboard. The slide on the screen by the way, is very tight and smooth. It has a great snap to it as you slide it open and closed, and the fact that it doesn’t slide straight up (the slider track on the back of the screen is shaped like “(” rather than “|”) is oddly cool. As for the keyboard there was a lot of concern but we’ll clear it up for you right now. It’s not bad at all – we’d give it a “B”. The keys have good spacing and are positioned perfectly in terms of a conventional keyboard layout (no craziness like having the “Z” directly beneath the “A” on the E71) and they have a good feel as you type. The rubber material catches your fingers well and speed demons will most definitely be able to bang out messages with a vengeance.