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back to article UK regulator re-opens probe into Google Street View slurp outrage

The Information Commissioner's Office has reopened its investigation of Google's controversial Street View technology, after its data-collecting cars collected payload data including emails and passwords from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The regulator's head of enforcement Steve Eckersley has sent an aggressive letter to senior …

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Anonymous Coward

anonymous pedantry

Now, the ICO wants Google to explain "precisely what type of data and sensitive personal data was captured within the payload data collected in the UK."

Now, the anonymous pedant wants to know why the ICO thinks data are singular.

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Anonymous Coward

Have they finally employed someone who actually knows what they are talking about?

No, this will be another parliamentary enquiry, to which MP's chomp at the bit be part of because they can draw extra expenses.

And still they will be flummoxed by it all.

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Re: anonymous pedantry

"Type" is singular.

Otherwise, good post!

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Anonymous Coward

Answer

The ICO sent an "aggressive" letter to Google? Here's Google's answer: "Sod off you fuckin' wanker. We're Google."

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Slapped with a $25,000 fine?

Slapped? Slapped? I doubt that qualified as a gentle nudge.

Is this because of that MEP's complaint, the one who no-one's ever heard of who presumably got advised he (or she? I honestly don't remember) get some exposure by complaining about Google?

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Re: Slapped with a $25,000 fine?

Agreed, to Google that's like finding a bit of change down the back of the sofa

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Facepalm

Get over it

So what Google recorded some open, unencrypted broadcasting data... akin to recording the sound of conversations as its cars passed... or what's on radio 1. If its not encrypted its the akin to putting it on a billboard.

Get over it, its noting serious, nothing to worry about... How about getting on with something important, like 4g auctions, or the use of the term unlimited in contracts.

Just because its a nice big target to go after doesn't mean they should bother... doing it again and again and again...

Besides I like getting a really quick location lock when I pull my phone out...

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Re: Get over it

>> Get over it, its noting serious, nothing to worry about... How about getting on with something important, like 4g auctions, or the use of the term unlimited in contracts.

Well 4G auctions are OFCOM's work and the use of the term unlimited in contracts is an issue for the ASA.

Why do you imagine either wants the help of the Information Commissioner's Office?

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Re: Get over it

I agree, if you happened to retrieve an email at the exact moment the Google car passed, using a none encrypted connection over a none encrypted wireless then sure your personal data, presuming there was any in the email ended up in Googles hands.

Whose fault is that? Yours, not Googles, I mean exactly how much useable data could they capture as they drove past? And if your so worried about your personal data being abused why the hell is your entire network so wide open to anyone that happens to be within range of it?

Get over it, I agree.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get over it

My wifi is secured so does that mean I lost no data of value?

The answer to that is no

Google has a record of my router MAC address and as reported here and other places they have recorded not just that but the location as well and have an APi that can show pretty much the exact location of my router on the map. If I were unfortunate enough to pick up some malicious software then the data that sends back to the authors combined with Googles data could lead anybody to my exact location. I did not agree to Google collecting, storing and publishing this information.

Yes the people in my local area could also get my MAC address but until Google came along they were the only people likely to have it and as they are in the local area they don't need telling where my router is, they already know. Now I can be tracked by somebody on the other side of the planet. Googles answer to this is for me to change my SSID to include _nomap and when they get round to it, if they remember, they will remove it. Hasn't happened yet

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Re: Get over it

@AC, well you will have to get over that, as that isn't the problem, the ICO isn't excited by that, it's been known all along thats exactly what Google are doing.

This investigation is about traffic on your net being captured, if yours was encrypted your in the clear.

Get over it

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Anonymous Coward

I'll bite

Magic word here is recorded.

Made a quick note of the SSID and location and moved on down the road while peering over Leylandii and rustic fencing of Britain's suburbia - no big issue.

Recorded and kept those snippets of conversation en-masse - not good practice and a good way to get people's backs up.

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Bronze badge

Re: I'll bite

Yup.....agree with you here. The SID was fair game since that would be all they need for their enhanced geo-locator stuff regardless of whether people should be hiding them or not.

As soon as they sucked the first byte of traffic they were ploughing the moral gutter and would never be able to justify it. I know someone will jump in with the old "it's no different to listening to someone shouting out of their window" but like all analogies it only holds so far. What they did was to listen at every window in every house on every street in every town etc etc etc. If you were to try doing that in the flesh as it were it would be a very short period before someone would be asking what you were doing, and in some areas a little vigilante action would be highly likely.

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Holmes

Seven questions for the ICO to answer...

1) Why was your investigation into the original complaint so cursory?

2) ICO were aware on 17 May 2010 that payload data was captured; why has it taken ICO so long to mount a thorough investigation?

3) Why did ICO accept Google's assurances at face value?

4) It was obvious that Google were lying to you in 2010 when French regulators found emails and passwords; why wasn't it obvious to you?

5) Why were Google instructed by ICO to delete incriminating evidence?

6) What happened to the data that was transferred out of the country, particularly that which was apparently on the streetview cars impounded by regulators in Europe?

7) Why are you so incompetent?

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Re: Seven questions for the ICO to answer...

They're an embarrassment. They're completely unable to act unless a foreign regulator shows them up by actually doing their job properly. They focus on rinsing public bodies for hundreds of thousands and completely ignore the most flagrant disregard for privacy law by private companies.

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Re: Wifi Location Snoop

This is well documented. You agree in the T+C when you boot Android the first time.

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Don't get it

Everything on an open wifi access point is public domain as far as I'm concerned.

At some point a little box popped up, or a piece of processed tree was received that said "do this if you do not wish all your shit to be publicly accessible" and the user clicked, or chose "nope, I'm fine with every Thomas, Richard and Harold reading my email and using my broadband to download hamster porn".

Lock it down or STFU.

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FAIL

Re: Don't get it

Nope. For years ISPs sent out unsecured routers to the great unwashed with the message 'just plug it in and away you go' These people with little or no knowledge of the technology did as they were told without thinking there would be a problem and why should they? The people who do know about these things have told them all they have to do is plug it in and everything is fine.

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How about re-opening phorm too ?

Now that the precedent of re-opening incompetently performed previous investigations has been set, surely the ICO's phorm investigation was even more incompetently performed.

Maybe it is also time to reopen that one -- and this time, ensure that top people in both BT and phorm are properly and severely punished.

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