Google announced yesterday that it would give the owners of residential Wi-Fi routers worldwide the option of removing their devices from a registry Google uses to locate cellphone users.
This is interesting because the routers were used for location of cellphones but does it really fix the core problem of collecting locations of devices without the permission of the owner?
Google Maps uses a camera car to generate the street views for their site. While collecting images of streets a wifi sniffer was placed in the vehicle to identify any network device along its path.
The owners of the WiFi devices were not specifically Google Customers or users of Android Phones… they were simply using a wireless network device to connect computer, printers and other devices and maybe gain access to the internet.
Lucky for the world the government of Germany was willing to tell Google it should not cross over boundaries of private property and access networks even for identification without permission.
It is our understanding that google went even a little farther then just GEO Marking the locations but that is for a court to figure out. Unfortunately most countries are not even attempting to address what has been in play for an extended period of time.
To a point I can accept a camera car photographing streets. This is helpful for navigation in areas that you do not often visit but even if they blurred some people out of the images there was still a lot of personal information collected that even a passerby would not have been able to see.
I don’t know I like google but when these core problems keep arising I wonder what type of company they will be years from now.
They introduced a great search engine for finding websites then started to branch out…
And now it seems they have progressed to a point to where regulation is not even enough because often their actions happen without prior knowledge and the harm may not be like getting run over by a google camera car … but it is still real.. and often unnecessary.
Germany and France began investigating Apple, the maker of the iPhone, after researchers uncovered files on the smartphone that routinely logged the users’ locations, which were calculated in part by the location of nearby Wi-Fi routers.
Google is expected to offer the OptOut sometime this fall…. meaning after they have collected everything they need and have backed it up to a private server. HA! gees.