FTC Gives Google a Pass on Street View Wi-Fi Sniffing



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the part I'm refering to is bolded in the following line:

"...were outfitted with software that was not just recording the SSID and locations of Wi-Fi networks, but was actually storing unencrypted data from those networks."

Sure its stupid to transfer data on an un-encrypted signal, but I'm talking about the storing/recording of that data.  Even tech support lines are required by law to inform the customer that they are being recorded.  Why is Google exempt from THIS law. 

It's also stupid to be 4'11 and weigh 95lbs and walk through a bad part of a town at 2am in the morning....but by the same token it is also illegal to rob said folks.  I'm trying to say (albeit badly) that the storing of the sniffed data is where Google broke the law, or at the least, "bent it severely".  If a policeman needs a warrant to record telephone conversations...in other words, store the data they sniffed...then so should Google.  I don't know how to make this any clearer.

It's a very fine line, I admit, but actually storing un-encrypted personal data without prior permission IS illegal. I seriously doubt that "multiple governments" are investigating this issue for no reason.

I know for a fact that photographers have to have written permission to take your picture if they are planning to publish it somewhere.  Even Googles act of JUST photographing the streets (with people on those streets) and publishing it via Google maps Street View is or should be illegal as well.  Why does a photographer need a waiver to publically distribute/publish a photo of me for example, when Google does not?  I think we can all agree that the internet can be considered a public enity.  Even walk-ons in the periphery of a movie must sign a waiver or footage of them cannot be used in the movie.

Sure just listening to a cell phone conversation via a reciever of the proper frequency is legal, but recording it is not, and does require a warrant.

This is the very reason I use NO wireless devices, simply because the laws regarding the monitoring and/or recording of wireless transmissions are at best, slithery enough to be easily abused.

So I guess, my vote is:  Stop Google Cars and their monitoring and recording of ANYTHING, permanently.





Was what Google did questionable? Yes. I think what they were mistaken about or should have put more thought in to was what data they collected, not that they did so. There's a lot of information in the distrobution of wireless tech to be harvested, both for advertising, and for more constructive uses. (remember that "Where's George" money tracking actually proved to be an excellent study on people migration, and thereby how a contagious disease can spread? same sort of thing)

I'm sorry, but to all you folks screaming for their heads on a silver platter and boots on the wheels of the Goog-mobiles, guess what: Wifi is NOT a regulated technology. Driving down the street and sniffing routers is no more illegal than listening to FM radio, or even your idiot neighbor's stero turned up too loud on saturday night. (now some municipalities DO make it illegal to steal internet access, but that's not what Google did)

Using Wifi without the best standard security encryption (currently WPA2) is no different than walking down the street with a bullhorn just shouting out your credit-card numbers and PIN for everyone to hear. You're LITERALLY broadcasting sensetive personal information and access to your PC on an uregulated public space. If you don't want someone to walk by and pick up your credit card and family photos, then keep them in your wallet on your person, not laying out on the sidewalk where anyone from Google to the Government to that creepy guy in the tutu and tinfoil hat can pick it up.






Heck, I say they get punished anyways. I highly dislike Google with a passion lol. :-)



Well we KNOW that it IS illegal to be a peeping tom, tap into you neighbors internet, TV or phone lines, and we KNOW that it is also illegal for the police to search home or vehicle w/o probable cause.  How does Google get away with KNOWINGLY tapping into everyones wireless network?

Google didn't spend millions or billions of dollars to equip all these Google Street Cars with cameras and related software and not at the same time KNOW that there was networking sniffing software and equipment also installed.  They obviously ordered said vehicles equipped exactly as there are equipped, and most probably made sure that upon reciept of said vehicles, that they got what they.... paid for / ordered.

If Google isn't taken to task...severely, then we are setting a very dangerous precedent here.  Will "tapping" into the CLOUD also be deemed legal?  Will peeping toms be patted on the back, will police w/o search warrants and / or probable cause be allowed to do as they wish?  Where does it end?  I'm pretty darn sure that if I was caught sniffing data from my neighbors networks, that I would be in jail very quickly.

What am I missing here, does Google have diplomatic immunity, are they now a govt. agency?  Last I heard they were just a very large business, and subject to the laws that all businesses are subject to...

Maybe if our current government can't keep up with the times...it's time for a new government that actually adheres to the Constitution.   Just sayin.....

To the angry at Max PC poster:   I too have in the past 'forgotten' that Maximum PC is just the messenger here...Google is the "perp" not Maximum PC  :)

To the poster that think it's legal to tap into someones wireless network...uh...might wanna check that again bro...at least before you get caught  ^^





It is incredibly incredibly incredibly juvenile to refer to the data they collected as "inadvertent". Let’s be honest for a minute here, they are a company whos entire existence is for the sole cause of data agrigation. They keep every google search ever typed with the corresponding IP, all the Docs,Gmail, EVERYTHING they have their hands in is preserved BY THEM for their own clandestine purpose.


It is WAY past time to even humor the possibility that such a thing could be an accident. No, this was not inadvertent. No offence intended to be sure, but the assertation in this articel that is was an accedent makes MaxPC look very un hip out of touch.








....all those people currently being taken to court for pirating software could just say:  "Oh, we're sorry, that torrent software was just a mistake..."

WTF.....how does Google mistakenly have street view cars loaded with software to...record the SSID and locations of Wi-Fi networks, and store unencrypted data from those networks, and NOT know about it?  I think we can safely assume that Google paid for these cars and w/e they carried in the first place, right?

And even worse, how does the FTC get away with...pretending to believe this load of BS?  On top of all that, why is the FTC sitting in judgement on this issue in the first place?  This is a case of illegally violating peoples privacy.  Why isn't this an FBI issue, or Congressional issue?  Last I heard FTC stood for Federal Trade Commission.

This must be a new system...when you break laws in this country, just arrange to be tried by the wrong government dept., and get off scott-free because the dept. that tried you has no jurisdiction concerning the laws you broke....I LIKE THAT IDEA !!  I think I'll go rob a bank and demand to be heard by the FCC....lol

This whole thing is so stupid, it's hilarious...Jesus take me now, I've seen everything.  And to think, I thought Zva Zva Gabor slapping a policeman and getting away with it was the epitome of absurdity.

I guess that old saying MUST be wrong.....Money DOES buy happiness  :)




I really think google taught people a leason why they should encript and password protect their routers. Its better that google did it then someone else that could actually do alot of harm.



Honestly google just shouldn't have said anything and deleted the what they collected. I trust google with that... and my life (skynet)


Zachary K.

i thought it was an interesting project, see how much of the world is covered with wifi, which parts of the world use encryption or what type of encryption. 

and do the same thing with cell coverage, see how much of america AT&T or verizon really covers.

i guess we will never know because one bad programmer made a mistake everyone FREAKED OUT about.

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