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back to article Czechs tell Google to stop StreetView

Data protection officials in the Czech Republic have told Google to put the brakes on its StreetView cars, ahead of a full statement next week. The Czech privacy watchdog began investigating Google for slurping up citizens' unsecured Wi-Fi data back in May - the same time that German prosecutors confirmed they were investigating …

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Silver badge

Hungary already did it - and what did they gain?

Not much except there won't be any Street View for them anytime soon... I don't know but as a tourist I'd be annoyed if I hear this... Google always said they will blur faces or whatever the authorities want but hey, if you don't need returning technofil tourists it's all fine - because it's never about the locals, y'know.

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@Levente Szileszky

It seems it's not so much street view that the authorites don't like but little things like not trusting google to behave themselves. They've been slurping data which they have no legitimate need for. If I walk along a street talking photographs of all and sundry with a GPS logger I do not need to be carrying war-driving kit and if I did it could hardly be accidental.

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WTF?

How come

this data was collected accidentally over such a long period of time, it would appear from this article that google is still accidentally collecting this data...

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If....

(off topic "If...." is a damn good '68 film).

On-topic: I just cannot understand this objection to Google Streetview; it is a fantastic an useful "product" - it is not the fault of Google if the idiots out there have unsecured wireless routers, if they are as poorly protected as shown then they deserve all the problems that lack of protection brings. These are more than likely the same people that - albeit inadvertantly - allow their systems to spread worms et al.

Google Streetview is useful and has helped many people to navigate, others to research possible holiday locations and, generally, to allow us to see more of our countries than we would ever do in the normal course of our lives.

Yes, I'm aware there are "scary" issues surrounding the application, but I'd much rather have it than be without it.

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Anonymous Coward

Accidentally my arse...

The WiFi data is at the heart of Google's geolocation software. We all know that IP based geolocation is crap. Well Google's service is based on what wireless routers your computer can "see". Try it in Firefox. Try it wired with your wireless switched off and you get nothing. Go wireless and you might get something, depending on how many wireless routers there are around you.

Now Google went out there with those cars and told the authorities in various countries that all they were doing was taking photographs in public places (nothing illegal about that in most countries). As a sop to the privacy lobby they said they would blur faces and numberplates, which they mostly have. I don't have any problem with Streetview.

They didn't tell the authorities in most countries that they would also be using their cars to slurp (I like that term) loads of wireless traffic and store it against GPS coordinates. If they had done that I suspect that most countries would have objected.

The only reason the objections being raised now are not more strident is that governments don't want to shout at Google too loud as it may reflect badly on them that they didn't know that Google were collecting this data. Or of course that the great unwashed may assume that governments did know Google were collecting the data and said nothing.

Do no evil? Let's rephrase that "Don't get caught doing evil, but if you do get caught then claim it was an accident."

If they collected that data accidentally why haven't they deleted it all now they know it's there?

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@Alien Doctor 1.1

@Alien Doctor 1.1: "I just cannot understand this objection to Google Streetview; it is a fantastic an useful "product" - it is not the fault of Google if the idiots out there have unsecured wireless routers, if they are as poorly protected as shown then they deserve all the problems that lack of protection brings."

You fail on multiple counts.

(1) Its not against Streetview, its against Google wifi spying.

(2) Its insane for anyone to argue they expect the whole world to be at a technical level good enough to know how to secure a wifi connection. That is simply not going to happen. How would you like to go to a doctor with an Appendicitis and they say, I'm not going to operate, its your problem if you can't deal with removing your own Appendicitis!. No one is expected to be at a doctor's level of knowledge of medical matters, so how the hell can you expect everyone in the world to be at such a technical level with computer matters! ... everyone has domains of knowledge.

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Big Brother

@Alien Doctor

It seems that you either are a google fanboi or you clearly miss the point.

Google was in fact war driving and slurping up unencrypted wi-fi data which is in fact an illegal wire tap in multiple countries. Just because the network isn't secured doesn't mean that there isn't an expectation of privacy.

In addition, there is no legal reason to identify unencrypted private wi-fi networks.

Again just because the wi-fi network isn't protected doesn't mean that any 'free-tard' has the right to access the network. In fact, using someone's private network without permission is also in fact illegal in multiple countries.

If you leave your keys in your car and I hop in and take the car, doesn't mean I won't get charged with grand theft.

BTW, the issue isn't Google Streetview but the fact that Google was also capturing the wi-fi data. So because of that, Google is being stopped.

Its interesting that Google hasn't been charged. Not to mention that Google has probably also destroyed evidence of their crimes well beyond what they admitted to coughing up.

Google is evil in spite of their claims otherwise. "The best trick the Devil did was to convince people he wasn't real..." (I forget the exact quote and the movie... )

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Anonymous Coward

Missed Point Error

Google, or anyone else, has no right to be reading, let alone recording, the data being transmitted by your wifi, whether it is encrypted or not.

Maybe I should have said Red-Herring Error

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Boffin

@AC

"Do no evil? Let's rephrase that "Don't get caught doing evil, but if you do get caught then claim it was an accident.""

Google only made that claim in order to set up their defense. In the US and probably the rest of the Western world, 'mens rea'. That is that you shouldn't be found guilty of committing a crime if you didn't have the intent of committing a crime. (dirty mind).

Unfortunately for Google, they can't make that claim since they filed for a patent on specifically trolling for wi-fis.

There's more of course, but until they are charged and go in front of the judge... this is all noise. ;-)

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Happy

mamsey It actually very simple

mamsey

The reason is actually quite simple, the data was recorded why the cars were going around because thought they would in the future integrate it WI-FI hotspots locations data into the software in some future update. So the data was recorded to the hard drives as the car drove around but when they went back to there headquarters instead of checking the data they simple chose to store the hard disks in a secure location until Google decided to integrate it into Google street view as a update an that where they found an reported to the authorities that they collected data from private but publically available unsecured Wi-fi networks.

It not a mystery an it not conspiracy an it goes on all the time in all fields, data is collected but not look at or analyse until years into the future because lack of man power an resources an because it not essential to the project.

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So did google

manage to collect all the data from around the world before anyone noticed that they were accidentally collecting wi-fi data?

I think not.

BTW I have no axe to gring against google, I find their services very useful, I just find this accidental collection of wifi data rather convenient.

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Anonymous Coward

How come it was accidental

when google use wifi data in geolocation services?

LIES, the whole world LIES.

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WTF?

There is nothing wrong with taking pictures of public places

I'm not sure this will legally stand, you can't stop someone from taking pictures of public places.

Also the Register's anti-Google attitude is very obvious, and unnecessary.

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@DSmith27

DSmith27, given the name you bear one has to wonder what the **** you know about what is legal in the Czech Republic. Or, by any chance, are you one of those Americans who say "first amendment" "third amendment", "supreme court", etc, thinking that those things apply to the whole world?

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> anti-Google attitude ... unnecessary

I dunno. If the world had cottoned on to Microsoft's dubious behavious a lot earlier and slapped them down I think the world would be a better place. Just because one horse has got out of one stable it doesn't mean its not worth bolting the rest of the stable doors to stop the rest of the horses getting out. To my mind Google stopped being the nice guys who do no evil some time ago.

We do badly need the Google with horns and pointed tail icon!

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Regardless of what DSmith27 does or doesn't know

he/she's quite right - it's not illegal to take photos in public places in the Czech Republic.

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Alien

open means open

if i wifi acess point has not been locked and secured and marked private then as far as i am concerned it is open.

When you attempt to connect to a wifi AP your computer REQUESTS" an IP address so its location on that network can be Identified and data packets routed to it. When that access point ISSUES an IP address that is the network infrastructure accepting your request for entry.

surely that amounts to someone knocking on a door and asking if they can come in and reciving a reply to enter?

the point being, whats wrong with publishing a list of locations where open wifi spots are available? If the owners of the hotspots do not want to offer public access then they should secure it from public access. If you dont know how to fit a secure lock to a door you get someone who can and if the door is not secure afterwards then you have some recourse.

I would even go so far to say that if DHCP was not enabled, then you you can ask to come in, but no reply does not authorise you to enter anyway.

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But...

>>if i wifi acess point has not been locked and secured and marked private then as far as i am concerned it is open.

...luckily for the entire rest of the world your personal opinion does not constitute law.

The reason we have these laws is to stop parasites and wankers preyiexploiting the weak and stupid.

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title

"if i wifi acess point has not been locked and secured and marked private then as far as i am concerned it is open."

Wrong, just wrong. There are millions of people who do not understand wifi, do not understand network protocols and do not understand computers. They use the system installed for them by BT, Virgin or whoever and are at the mercy of how the installation tekky left it. To say if they "don't fit a secure lock to the door" when they are not even aware of the door's existence, and their wifi is used for nefarious purposes it is their fault, is technical snobbery at best.

Many little old ladies don't understand how limited slip differentials work. They're still allowed to drive.

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What makes you think they made DHCP requests?

From the sound of it they just recorded whatever was being transmitted. Also leaving a car with keys in doesn't mean anyone is allowed to borrow it without permission.

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Well

The country feels Google's already over-stepped their boundaries due to the earlier screw-up.

It's a shame Google did that - it'd be interesting to see its effect on the Czech Republic's infrastructure.

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Big Brother

@Ef'd

"It's a shame Google did that - it'd be interesting to see its effect on the Czech Republic's infrastructure."

To answer your question, not a damn thing.

Mapping the data isn't the issue. Snooping on wi-fi is.

I don't know what the issue is. Tele Atlas and Navteq have been mapping streets around the globe for years and still continue to do so. (Tele Atlas is owned by TomTom and Navteq owned by Nokia)

So you can still expect map data to be generated. Incidentally its even feasible for governments (at all levels) to capture their own data and then publish it, or sell it to be blended in with other vendor's data... ;-)

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Ya missed the point

When I said it was a shame that Google did that, I was referring to wifi snooping. It's a shame that Google performed such an egregious violation of privacy - otherwise the Czechs would probably be more open to their Street View efforts.

And with that clarification I do not know how you can claim that Street View would have no effect on infrastructure. It definitely helps facilitate a number of things, for example tourism. Someone looking to visit the country can gain familiarity with the layout of the land. This could easily lead to more time and money spent in the area. Think about it.

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you must be joking.......

"There is nothing wrong with taking pictures of public places

WTF?

I'm not sure this will legally stand, you can't stop someone from taking pictures of public places.

Also the Register's anti-Google attitude is very obvious, and unnecessary."

Ah, somebody has not visited the UK yet. I suggest you come down here and plant a nice, expensive, camera on a tripod and try to take pictures of, lets say, the local police station or buckingham palace and see how long that statement of yours remains true.

I can pretty much guarantee that before you even get to set up your camera you will have wannabee cops, read PCSO's, calling the real cops to come and deal with your terrorism instincts. After all, if you are taking pictures in public places that must mean that you are a terrorist and need to be dealt with accordingly.

Freedom of the press...yeah right.

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Paris Hilton

Better...

"...to ask forgiveness than permission," as Google always says.

I hope they get their peepees smacked.

Paris, I'm sure, wouldn't mind contributing to that.

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Paris Hilton

Oh dear?

It looks like the CIA and colleagues have been rumbled at last?

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Anonymous Coward

Tin foil hat?

There's always one of your brigade around isn't there?

Google are slurping WiFi data for their geolocation service. And the reason for that is for targetted advertising. Google call it a service, but if I want something I'll decide where I want it to be I don't want Google making that decision for me. The main worry that people have is that if you allow this service (and at the moment it is opt in) then people might use it for purposes more sinister than serving up adverts.

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Insular policy - theirs to make...

I can't understand what their gripe would be, about Street View.

If someone was to manually assemble a photo-mural of their country, wouldn't they feel flattered, about it?

I guess it's just an insular policy. It's their policy to make, though, for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

Read the story?

"I can't understand what their gripe would be, about Street View."

Did you read the story at all or just the headline? It's the WiFi slurping that the Czech authorities object to, not the pictures.

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Pint

Finally someone standing up to big bad google?.........

nope - I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Czech government doesn't give a shit about protecting the privacy of its citizens....they think that they might be able to wring some extra cash and/or kickbacks out of Google if they hold out

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