Google’s Street View Cars came under immense international pressure earlier this year after it became known that the cars did not only take pictures of streets in countries they were operating in but also recorded Wi-FI information.
Google’s initial response to the allegations was that the recorded data was used to power and improve location based services it operates and that nothing more but data fragments were recorded during the time of operation.
Experts in some countries were suspicious as it was very likely that the one-fifths of a second recordings of public Wi-FI data would contain more than just fragments of personal data. Google’s Street View cars were configured to switch channels five times a second.
The French data protection authority CNIL, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, was the first to receive the recorded data.
Experts began to analyze the data on June 4th, the day the data was received and preliminary results were posted on the official website two days ago.
According to CNIL, the data that Google collected with their Street View Cars contained passwords for mailboxes and excerpts of electronic messages.
CNIL said on Thursday that it would take further analysis of the data before it could be decided what would happen as a result of the investigation.
German and Spanish data protection authorities have also requested access to the data that was collected by Google’s Street View cars in their countries.
CNIL did confirm that the Street View service did provide information to other Google Services including Google Maps and Google Latitude.
This all would not have been possible if people would properly secure their wireless networks and apologists have used this excuse to defend Google. This however does not change the fact that it is a crime in some countries to collect that data. What’s your opinion on the new discovery?