French Government Accuses Google of Collecting Private Data

June 22nd, 2010 at 12:57 am

The French data protection agency (CNIL) reported that Google scooped up sensitive data like passwords and e-mail address when putting together its Street View service, which leads them to contemplate whether to prosecute the search firm. The data was gathered as it logged WiFi hotspots in an effort to develop its location-based services.

Google handed over copies of the data it gathered, after CNIL requested for it, to determine whether privacy laws have been breached. So far, CNIL detected passwords for e-mail services and a bunch of text from messages.

The agency will decide by September whether Google had a case to answer from breach of privacy, which receives them a warning, a fine, or even a possible criminal charge.

Google claimed that its Street View cars “accidentally” grabbed data from unsecured WiFi hotspots as the vehicles were snapping photos of street scenes in 30 countries. The company has since stopped gathering information from hotspots.

However, the tech giant defended that what happened was not intentional, saying that there was “no harm, no foul” in collecting snippets of information.

Source: BBC News, via CrunchGear


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