Street View Cars Captured WiFi Devices

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Google’s Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world, CNET has confirmed.

The cars were supposed to collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points. But Google also recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly available through until a few weeks ago, says C/Net.

The French data protection authority, known as the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libert├ęs (CNIL) recently contacted CNET and said its investigation confirmed that Street View cars collected these unique hardware IDs. In March, CNIL’s probe resulted in a fine of 100,000 euros, about $143,000.

The confirmation comes as concerns about location privacy appear to be growing. Apple came under fire in April for recording logs of approximate location data on iPhones, and eventually released a fix. That controversy sparked a series of disclosures about other companies’ location privacy practices, questions and complaints from congressmen, a pair of U.S. Senate hearings, and the now-inevitable lawsuits seeking class action status.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 9:05 am .

Leave a Reply