back to article Google: Street View cars grabbed emails, urls, passwords

Google has publicly acknowledged that the WiFi data collected by its world-roving Street View cars contained entire emails, URLs, and passwords. On Friday afternoon, with a blog post, senior vice president of engineering Alan Eustace also said – yet again – that most of the data is "fragmentary," and that the company intends …

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  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    The best way forward.

    A large dose of no-strings-attached funding to an objective international organisation whose sole purpose is to develop and maintain privacy /enhancing/ technologies and promote their use and awareness amongst regular citizens.

    If Google wants to show me that it supports privacy, it can put a large wad of cash towards taking digital privacy out of the darkened closet occupied by paranoid geeks and make it a part of everyday life. Nothing else will even come close to restoring my faith that Google does no evil.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Privacy enhancing tech?

      You mean like WPA2, WPA- even WEP would have stopped Google collecting the information (well, it'd have stopped them having the slightest idea that what they were doing was legal).

      The data they collected was made freely available by the owners of that information. That it was an EM wave rather than a sound wave is the only way this differs from people shouting out their personal details; they're being broadcast over a circle that could be as much as 200m in diameter (based on the 100m claimed outdoor range of mine, though obviously it's likely to be hugely less than that) in a form that a great many people within that range can receive and interpret. That sounds like a broadcast to me!

      If Google had collected encrypted data then there'd still be no harm- it's useless to them. It'd only be a problem if Google decided to break that encryption and look inside these packets. Up until that point there's absolutely no problem.

      The REAL villains here are the WiFi AP manufacturers who didn't ship their devices with any default encryption. People are putting vast amounts of sensitive data out over these networks and they couldn't even be arsed to put WEP onto them.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @AC

        Yes. Like WEP or WPA. Or even a way to implement them in an easy to understand fashion for the massed billions of twelve-o'clock-flashers.

        Having privacy enhancing technologies is worth nothing if they are too difficult for the hoi polloi to implement. Nor if there is zero awareness about their existence or relevance. It's easy for nerds to look down their long noses and sniff at the great unwashed. "You should have known how it worked!" Great rallying cry. It's like advertising (broadcasting?) loudly and in public that you're a smug pompous arrogant twat.

        There is no way that regular people should have to understand every detail about every technology in the world just to use them. I mean hell, do you understand exactly how to manipulate the DNA of a bacteria to produce a hormone? Can you do it in your basement? Well they use this method all the time to create neat stuff to add to your food, or the food of animals you eat. How about household cleaners? Quick, without Google, tell me exactly the chemical formula of VIM and how to cook it up in a mixing bowl in your kitchen.

        “Everyone who uses a computer/the Internet/technology-of-any-kind should know exactly how it works” is the biggest bloody cop out in history. Just because you personally understand all the ins and outs does not give you the right to expect that Joe and Jane average should have to.

        Google (possibly inadvertently) took advantage people’s trust and lack of knowledge. You know who else does that? Con men. So excuse me if I think that the world maybe has too many different fields – too much information – to reasonably expect the average person to magically know everything about everything they use or encounter. Instead, I hold corporations (and individuals) to the high standard of “not taking advantage of the folk around you” as well as “providing your product in an intuitive and easy-to-understand manner.”

        This means I hold Google responsible for their actions. I also hold the entire IT industry responsible for making products that are damned near incomprehensible for mere mortals. Shame on everyone who had a part to play in this. If I had my druthers not only would Google be paying a whack of money towards the creation, simplification and promotion of privacy enhancing technologies, but so would AP manufacturers and any ISPs who supplied them.

        1. Tim Bates
          FAIL

          Re: Trevor_Pott's comment

          "Having privacy enhancing technologies is worth nothing if they are too difficult for the hoi polloi to implement."

          So did you learn to drive a car by going down to the local car dealer, buying one, and then seeing what you can make it do? Or did you seek advice and assistance from someone who knew how to operate the device?

          The problem isn't that it's too hard, or that it WiFi isn't self-protective enough... The problem is the idiots who buy things with no clue, then wonder why it doesn't magically do what they thought.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            @Tim Bates

            Except it's not a car. It's not a multi-tonne bomb-on-wheels that can KILL PEOPLE. It's a microwave with a few extra buttons. A calculator on steroids. I don't take lessons in how to use a hammer or a wrench, why should I need a "driver's licence" for a computer, except the arrogance of self-important nerds?

            It’s time we – the IT community at large – got our heads out of our collective asses and realised that these things are just TOOLS. They will never be more than this to the average Joe and Jane. They aren’t some super-secret worship device that forms a sacred part of new religion. They aren’t the magical enabler of freedom, justice or the cult of Bob. They are nothing more than an oftentimes far-too-overcomplicated wrench.

            On less the computer is attached to something truly epic – a manufacturing robot maybe, or a nuclear power plant – then they simply aren’t remotely in the same class as cars. They aren’t deadly, they shouldn’t be a threat to the person using them or to others. It is our nerdly arrogance that imbues these jumped-up organisers into something grander. We want to feel special, we want to feel important. There is MYSTERY to what we do! Look at us: we are practitioners of The Dark Arts.

            We need to get over ourselves. We’re not shamans of the unknown future. We’re digital janitors unclogging the tubes that allow individuals to send mail faster than the post. These things are filing cabinets, calculators, messengers, address books and organisers. To the vast majority of the people who use them, they will never be anything more. They contain the most intimate details of our lives and yet there is a huge dichotomy between those who maintain these toys and those who use them.

            Those who use them don’t want these things to be as complicated as cars. They see no need! They actually /want/ iPads and iPhones and locked-down walled gardens because CHOICE simply isn’t as relevant to them as functionality. They want a toaster or a VCR. Simple functionality without the requirement to go through a complicated learning process like that of driving a car.

            It is only our arrogance as insecure nerds that insists all computers be treated like cars. “But they can do SO MUCH MORE!” What a rallying cry; so deafeningly awesome that it was completely ignored by a populace sick of these damned things.

            Computers are not like cars*…and IT practitioners just aren’t that important. It’s time to get the hell over it and start making TOOLS that people actually want to – and easily understand how to – use.

            *Also: Ogres are not like cakes!

    2. Not Fred31
      Thumb Down

      yeah, but, no, but... yeah...

      Would you like to work in the organisation that receives the cash and have responsibility for demonstrating independence from your cash cow's influence (while maintaining balance)?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Thumb Down

        @Not Fred31

        "It's hard. Let's not try then."

        Amazing that with that attitude around, we ever developed the concept of rights or implemented any social changes at all. I'm very glad there were people in our history who figured some things were worth doing regardless of difficulty. Seems nice to me to live in a society where slavery and most forms of discrimination are patently illegal.

        I'd like to live in one where invasion of privacy was as well. Hell, it'd be damned near utopic if large corporations and governments were held to the same moral and ethical standards that our laws require of individuals.

        But hell, it's hard.

        Let's not try then.

  2. Daniel Evans

    Simples?

    "We want to delete the rest of the payload data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward."

    Simplest option would be Ctrl-A followed by Delete, no?

    (or DROP TABLE ILLEGALLYHARVESTEDDATA, etc. etc.)

    Then again, I guess there's no profit in that - are Google hoping some country decides they don't actually care?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Backup tapes

      Presumably Google have a robust backup and archiving systems?

      Presumably the data in question is all intertwingled with everything else on those tapes / disk images / whatever.

      Very difficult deletion problem then (assuming a lengthy archive cycle).

      The whole point of archive / backup is that you don't ever delete individual items from a volume, you just overwrite the whole thing according to the re-use policy.

    2. uninventiveheart

      Not simple, "Best".

      Read it like this: "If an authority doesn't have qualms about it one way or the other, we're keeping the data."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      I think they mean legally

      Early on, they said they feared it would be regarded as destruction of evidence to delete it while investigations were still ongoing, which, unfortunately is probably true.

      So basically they have to wait for each individual country to give them the OK before they can delete the data collected there. Which sucks, because *MY* data may well be in there and I'd really prefer they just deleted it right away.

      FAIL because it seems the law is counterproductive in this case.

      1. Daniel Evans

        RE Legally

        Ah yes, I do seem to remember the whole deletion of evidence thing being mentioned previously.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        RE: I think they mean legally

        > Which sucks, because *MY* data may well be in there and I'd really prefer they just deleted it right away.

        Why aren't you using any form of encryption on your wireless networks?

        FAIL because you should know better.

    4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      FKs and all of that

      Ah, now, to be fair to Google, they probably have lots of foreign key constraints and it is very difficult to just delete data like that and maintain referential integrity.

      It also goes the fundamental principle of removing data from databases. Data is never deleted from databases. It makes the databases sad. The relevant record might get a little flag like 'IsDeleted' or [I'm Private Please don't look at me] and then all is well.

  3. fearnothing

    And my friends wonder why I don't trust Google anymore...

    So, let me get this straight - where they've been ordered to do so by the relevant authority, they've deleted the data, and everywhere else, they haven't. Furthermore, although they "want to" delete the rest of it, the only apparent difference between places where they have and haven't is whether they've been ordered to do it.

    Seems Google requires my services as a translator, so to summarise:

    "We want people to think we're going to delete the data without having our arm twisted"

    What are the odds that they'll find a way to keep some of the data they've promised to erase?

    1. Alastair 7

      Or, the actual reason

      Google hasn't deleted the data because it has been told not to. The article itself even mentions Google deleting UK data before a third party privacy watchdog intervened and told them to stop- presumably so that they could study what was actually collected.

      This whole story is a less than impressive on the part of Google. However, the amount of hyperbole posted in response to it is less than impressive on the part of everyone else..

  4. James Woods

    hrm

    I don't think the question is that google wants to keep the data; I think the question is would legal issues follow if they deleted it basically deleting evidence of what it did.

    Google is the government, they are the NSA. No other 'private' company would be able to roam the streets and take pictures of everyone.

    However with that said, I have a larger problem at this point with the 3 major credit reporting companies colluding with one another to provide pay services while refusing to honor their required free credit report requests.

    I made a recent request of mine and failed the security questions since my credit report seems to say I have a mortgage when I do not.

    Went through the telephone automated system and never got anything in the mail. I don't think there is anyone you can call, you have to write them.

    Your credit report(s) might as well be someone elses since you have no control over them and your financial integrity is someone elses profit (equifax, transunion etc..).

    For all I know I have a mortgage on my report and I can't even get a copy to dispute it.

    1. Graham Marsden
      FAIL

      No other 'private' company...

      ... would be able to roam the streets and take pictures of everyone.

      Erm, have you never watched TV news reports or anything else showing street scenes?

      Despite what the UK Plod want you to believe there is *NO LAW* preventing you or anyone else (even a 'private' company) from taking pictures of anything you like.

      1. Dave Rickmers
        Stop

        Can't look over fences

        Google snoops as much as they want, laws be damned. They then weasel for months, until the data gets stale, then they offer to purge it. They are out-of-control control freaks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's true, there's no law against being a tosser

        To do what Google Street view has done, you'd need to make your way along residential streets with a camera and a tall stepladder. If you did that, you'd be denounced as a creepy pervert.

        The difference between Street View and what news reporters, estate agents, tourists and others with cameras do is that Google take their photographs from a high vantage point, and then put them all on the web in a contiguous form, together with navigation aids and street names and numbers for reference. So, thanks to Google, you can be a creepy pervert in the privacy of your own home, where the residents can't see you snooping.

        The law was established without taking Google into account, so Street View is legal, but that doesn't make it healthy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Own Up

          Which creepy pervert gave me a thumbs down?

      3. James Woods

        what?

        You work for google right?

        How can you compare what google does to the media?

        Im not sure where your from but I think you might of confused me of being from england. Im in the states and here we have alot of legal issues regarding the land we "own".

        Most of the people that own land in this country own very limited rights of use to that land. That-is the government dictates to us what we can do with the land we have purchased (unless it's grandfathered with other rights - and even then often you lose in court).

        So if the government is able to tell me I do not own the mineral rights in the ground below my property who exactly is giving google free reign to map the country?

        They are snapping pictures of property owned by millions of people. Do they not owe these people royaltys for their work?

        Not to mention your defending a multi-national corporation dodging taxes of several countries depriving them of urgently needed funds to function. If google had to pay each city or municipality for the pictures I wouldn't have a problem with it - but google would only pay off the politicians to end that.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Boffin

          @You work for google right?

          Are you addressing me? It's really not clear.

          But if you are, no, I don't work for Google, however I do live in the UK where you have the right to take photographs of virtually anything you like if you can see it from a public place (exceptions being eg Ministry of Defence property), you don't need someone's permission to take photographs of them, you don't need anyone's permission to photograph a building and the idea that somehow you can demand royalties is ridiculous even if it is an "original creative work".

          It doesn't matter whether you're the Media, Google or Joe Bloggs, (let alone the Metropolitan Police) *NOBODY* has the right to stop you taking pictures.

          And as for your irrelevant Straw Man argument of "your defending a multi-national corporation dodging taxes", I'll treat that with the contempt it deserves.

          PS In the UK we *do* have the right to a) see our credit records (for a nominal charge) and b) *demand* that any errors be fixed on them. Perhaps you need to get your elected representatives to start *representing* you, instead of the people who paid for their campaigns...

          1. Mr. Ed

            Sorry Graham but...

            ...James is a bit confused about his country and lots of other things. It's election season here, a time when liberals come out of the woodwork and say the darndest things.

            The law in the US is pretty much as you describe for the UK. It is not illegal in the US to own and operate a camera. It is not illegal to be in business and you can choose a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a (gasp!) corporation. If you choose to form a corporation, you can even operate inside and outside the US, making you a (gasp!gasp!) multinational corporation. All those businesses are free to make money -- as much money as they want.

            We can see our credit records too -- once a year for no charge, by law.

            James is correct that surface rights are treated separately from mineral rights (and in some states, water rights) but the government doesn't take those rights to itself. This way, a property owner can grant others the right to develop minerals on his property without selling his property. In the US, Google cannot enter your home or even stand on your lawn and start taking pictures.

            Just thought someone should remove any misconceptions. Don't be too hard on James -- our public education system is in a heck of a mess. But we rock at Call of Duty.

            Oh, and I hate Google too though.

  5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    FAIL

    Send in the clowns!

    Er... I mean class action lawyers.

    They need to file a lawsuit and get a TRO to stop Google from deleting the data.

    If Google is allowed to delete the data prior to a lawsuit being filed, they will get a free pass unless one of the foreign governments charges them first.

    A fail to Google admitting that they did wrong and getting a free pass.

  6. George 24

    The Authorities

    "We want to delete the rest of the payload data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward."

    Could this mean the authorities want to have a good look at the data before deleting it ..... or not?

    1. Notas Badoff
      Unhappy

      We're thinking about it...

      "until then, don't delete anything." is what they've been told in a few burgs/countries.

      There is no easy/possible way out of this mess. The screamers saying "delete everything now!" The creamers saying "Don't delete anything that we could use against you in a lawsuit!" The pols screaming "Wait, we gotta check our laws (if we have any) to see what we can do to get the most mileage out of this!"

      Do! Don't! Wait! And everyone second-guessing the G-men's intentions.

      I would have deleted everything immediately, then apologized with details, because that would have been the action most protective of the public's interests.

      As it is, yes, your data _might_ be being read by someone less trustworthy than you imagine that Google is. And now, even Google can't fix that. This you like? The people with agendas do. Do! Don't! Think?

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Can you say 'obstruction of justice'?

        You break the law, allegedly. You destroy the evidence before the lawyers say you can.

        That's obstruction and while you won't be found guilty of the initial alleged act, you will be found guilty of obstruction.

        Once the news leaked out... the fun began and until the Countries say you can delete it. you can't legally do so.

        In terms of a civil suit... if they destroy the data after the Courts say you can, but before a civil case can be brought, its a stay out of jail free card.

  7. Big-nosed Pengie
    Gates Horns

    This is not a title

    I suppose we should give them credit for admitting it. How about a year or two off the sentence?

    Evil Bill because there's no Evil Google icon.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Horns

      Evil google icon.

      Yes. We need one. You listening El Reg? :)

      No idea what one would look like though.

      Evil jobs icon, No reason - just 'cos I need an icon.

  8. Christopher Martin

    What's the problem?

    I really don't understand. If you are actively broadcasting your password such that anyone listening can receive it, what expectation of privacy did you have?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Read the article again

      Google slurped up more than basic wireless access point info.

      Now do you understand why people downvoted your comment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      there is a difference

      between some passerby or other accidentally overhearing a private conversation ...

      ... and that passerby (no, wait - not a passerby, but a private surveillance firm) deliberately recording every such conversation it can in order to use the contents of the recording for commercial purposes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Quick scan before posting..

      and there it is, the very point I was about to make. I would take people's indignation a little bit more seriously if it wasn't so full of crap.

      By broadcasting your wifi with no encryption whatsoever, you're practically inviting people to listen in. Next time the Google car goes past your house, maybe you could shout your PIN out the window?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Privacy

      So because you walk about the street actively "broadcasting" what you look like, you have no problem if I take your photo, store it and maybe use it in any way I choose?

      Just because data can be collected does not mean it should be.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        No problem at all

        If I'm in a public place I have no expectation of privacy and yes - at least under UK law - you are entitled to take my picture. As for doing anything you want then that's a little more restricted due to libel and decency laws.

        I don't want to live in the kind of world you're advocating where photography is banned in public places.

        As for wifi - pretty much the same deal as far as I'm concerned. If you're too stupid to enable basic security measures then it's your fault. Maybe WAPs should require people buying them to have a license.

      2. Edagan

        Re: Quick scan before posting..

        We hear this argument quite a lot, but it doesn't really hold any water, except in the minds of insurance companies keen to avoid paying out on claims (no matter how faithfully their customers have paid their inflated premiums).

        First of all, I'm no lawyer and I don't know whether you'd classify what Google has done as a 'crime', or for that matter whether it's an offence of any sort. I guess this is what all these "privacy authorities" are busy working out. Some might say it is in their territory; others might look at it differently. Contrary to popular British belief, not everything that annoys or upsets you is automatically a crime.

        For the sake of argument, let's take the view that Google has committed a *crime*, violated people's privacy and stolen data it wasn't entitled to. This argument that the network owners are responsible is false. AC said: "By broadcasting ... with no encryption whatsoever, you're practically inviting people to listen in". As an admittedly extreme analogy, this is precisely the same 'logic' as the sometimes-heard claim that a woman wearing a short skirt and revealing top was "asking to be raped"; or perhaps a better parallel would be the argument that it's the owner's own fault if they leave their satnav in the car overnight and someone breaks in and steals it.

        In neither case is the victim of crime to blame for the crime committed against them. Sure, it's possible (and sensible) to argue that these days one should assume the worst of everyone and take every possible precaution against crime - but that still doesn't make it your fault if you get your house burgled because you forgot to lock the door.

        If someone is raped, then it's the rapist's fault and theirs alone. If someone steals something from your house, then it's the thief's fault, not yours. You have the right to expect your property to be left alone *even if* you leave it insecure and unattended for a time. (You *can't* realistically expect that, but you have the *right* to nevertheless, because the law prohibits theft.)

        This same reasoning says that IF Google have 'stolen' data they shouldn't have had, then it is Google, and Google alone, that is to blame, even if the exploited wi-fis weren't encrypted.

        1. Michael C

          A bit too far on the analogy.

          The correct parallel here is not that a woman scantily clad asked to be raped, it's that she asked to be ogled at. Google did not "violate" or "rape" your network, they didn't go in there find your credit information and abuse it, they collected your MAC, SSID, information on machines it could see in the LAN, and might hav captured other data in the scan. Why? It didn;t do an active "search" of your network, scanning as one might a corporate network, it simply "listened to traffic" and that traffic might have been anything. It should not have captured passwords, since passwords "in flight" through your LAN should have been on secure sites or systems (aka, encrypted). If you;re logging into non-secure sites online, that password was NEVER secure, and anyone on the net could have captured it. Google tagged LAN traffic data so it might learn about the other MACs on your network, if it was open and unsecured. They took the opportunity to look down the top of a woman who bend over in a loose fitting dress, they didn't rape her.

          Ask an insurance company. Do you get to file a claim for a stolen car if you left the keys in it running with the door open? Can they limit your claim if you left your down unlocked and home alarm off after posting on FaceBook you were going on a 2 week vacation? You broadcast unencrypted passwords onto the general internet through an unsecured access point. They HAPPENED to catch that data. They did not intend to or specifically design a system to collect that specific data. They are scanning the data for specific items only (mostly arp requests).

        2. tim 13

          but that isn't a correct analogy.

          Someone raping someone wearing a short skirt is illegal, not because of the length of the skirt, but because rape is illegal.

          Someone burgling a house that had the front door left open is illegal, not because of the state of the door but because burglary is illegal.

          Someone writing down things that you shout out the window isn't illegal. Of course if one of those things was your bank PIN and they then went and used it to take money out of your account then that is illegal, but recording it isn't

    5. Dave Rickmers
      Grenade

      In the USA you have an expectaion of privacy

      when using wireless devices. It is illegal to intercept a communication to which you are not a party. Google matched the picture to your router's MAC address allowing Google and your ISP to sell you location based services. They are tracking your whereabouts and building a very meticulous file on you.

      1. Michael C

        Not true

        In the USA there is a general popular consensus that privacy is protected by law. In reality, only certain aspects of your life fall under such protections, only in certain places, and only as it would pertain to keeping the government from monitoring those people who seek to lobby against it (to avoid prosecution, persecution, or harassment of said people by the government). You have no "right to privacy." There is no such thing. That is a myth perpetuated by the paranoid and those who in general distrust the government.

        The only rights to "privacy" our government has bestowed are from supreme court rulings on generalized text from the constitution. Inside the curtailment zone of your home your possessions, papers and effects are private. Your conversations are private (but NOT who you converse WITH). Anytime you are not within the bounds of your home, the government can watch you, track you, record you, and more, without even due process, let alone a warrant.

        Our fore fathers only wished the government to essentially be blind to your religion, personal and political views, and "private ways." However, outside of that, your life was an open book to the government.

        I won't claim my stance one way or the other here, and won;t comment on Google's "collection" efforts or accidents until we know more specifically what, how, and most importantly why. I'm only posting this to clarify the status of your privacy.

    6. Anonymous John

      Re What's the problem?

      Exactly. If you have an unsecured router, you are at risk 24/7. Yet people are worried about the small one-off snapshot wrongly taken by Google. And you would have to have been using your computer when the Google car went past, for any personal info to have been recorded.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Why do people care?

    It seems that people really ought to be made aware rather than just going after Google. I mean it's not like they're using some secret process they developed to crack encrypted data. It's all being transmitted unencrypted for anyone to have at. I think that this is the real problem and ought to be solved. Seriously guys, quit bitching.

    1. Stuart Castle

      Irrelevant

      If a network is not encrypted, it is irrelevant that others can look at the data. Simply because the fact that they can technically do so, they do not have the right to do it.

    2. dephormation.org.uk
      Boffin

      In the UK

      You use WiFi encryption to protect yourself from criminals, because it is illegal to intercept communications without consent (see RIPA and Wireless Telegraphy Act).

      You are not obliged to use encryption (though it is a good idea).

      Encryption does not guarantee security, it just makes it more time consuming to decrypt. In the case of WEP, which is weak, that time could be merely seconds.

      This was no accident. It was a systematic and intentional attempt to intercept and copy data illegally nationwide.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Twat

        Seriously, what are you smoking?

        Yes what Google did was wrong

        But an intentional and systematic attempt? Give over, WTF are they going to use a few frames for?

        If you wanna attack them for what they did, fine (because it was wrong, mistake or not) but quit trying to drum up some conspiracy that Google can extract useful (commercial) data from the few frames they could have captured.

        They get more information on you when you email someone with a Gmail address for f*ck sake.

        You guys at dephormation did some great work with Phorm, but I can't help feel you're chasing a ghost here. There's no logical reasonable commercial reason for what Google did.

        You'd be more constructive if you;

        - Attacked the ICO for not doing something about it

        - Attacked the legislation that allowed it to happen (in the UK)

        - Attacked Google for their massive data mining

        But trying to claim it was deliberate simply makes you look retarded. Mens Rea might be important under RIPA, but pretending it existed doesn't cut it. Why not ask why Mens Rea is so important under RIPA, when Actus Reus is enough to convict under other legislature?

        Not actually aimed at you in particular, I'm feeling grouchy and I'm fed up of the conspiracy theories.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Lol

        "This was no accident. It was a systematic and intentional attempt to intercept and copy data illegally nationwide."

        Yeah because Google are such a technically inept company that they actually thought that grabbing a couple of second's data from hundreds of thousands of WAPs operated by people who were too ignorant or stupid to secure them would give them access to vast amounts of useful data.

        Or not.

        Google might be a bit evil but they aren't stupid. It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that aside from location data nothing of value could possibly be obtained by such an exercise.

  10. Andus McCoatover

    'Mortified' in Mountain View?

    I bet "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" just chocked on her G+T.

  11. Tim Brown 1
    Coat

    And...

    In a separate statement, another company working in this field - not Google obviously - said that it had updated the privacy training for its employees to make sure that if it ever did anything like that in the future, the public and authorities don't find out about it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So...

    ... some countries take them to court.

    Other countries tell them to delete the data.

    And in the UK they're told "that's naughty, please don't do it again"...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    New Term - FOS = Full of Shit.

    On Friday afternoon, with a blog post, senior vice president of engineering Alan Eustace also said – yet again – that most of the data is "fragmentary," and that the company intends to delete the data "as soon as possible."

    And....

    Google has responded. "In some countries where we've been instructed to do so by the authorities, we have deleted the data, "a company spokeswoman said. "We want to delete the rest of the payload data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward."

    Ummmmmm why is the number one question in all of this, "After when?"

    The people are robbing your house - and they will leave it as soon as possible.... and?

    Why the bullshit caveats on deleting things they "stole" or "improperly acquired" and why the delays?

    Fuck Google.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    And, Google, don't forget...

    ...to empty the Recycle Bin once you have deleted the files.

    Seriously, does anyone think this data hasn't been replicated over christ knows how many servers at Google? I bet Google don't even know how many copies they have of it.

    Asking them to "delete" it is about as stupid as the US govt asking Wikileaks to send their data back.

  15. Drefsab

    hmm I wonder

    I do wonder just how much of this is the people's who's data was harvested in the first place. They were broadcasting totally insecurely this data. Sure google harvested this ok that's not great but how many people who are small are harvesting the same information but wont get caught.

    Surely this could be used instead to educate people to secure you damned wifi because its the same as leaving your front door open anyone can get in and take your stuff.

  16. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Grenade

    delete the data "as soon as possible."

    The fastest solution:

    Something which when properly fused and lit releases a large amount of energy in a confined space such as having been shoved up Eric "Privacy is Dead" Schmidt's ass.

  17. Alexander Hanff 1
    FAIL

    Not usually one to defend Google but...

    Lots of people are harping on about Google not deleting the data for some sinister reason. They are not deleting the data because we threatened them with legal action if they do - because it would be destruction of evidence and there are multiple ongoing investigations in multiple countries - including the UK.

    So whereas, I am usually very critical of Google - on this occassion these ridiculous claims of governments wanting to use the data for spying or Google wanting to keep it - are quite simply wrong. The people making these comments would do well to actually read the prior articles on this matter instead of jumping in and speaking bollocks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hiding behind "legalities"

      Google is hiding behind the "can't delete it, destruction of evidence" excuse. The right thing to do here is to rip all the acquired wifi data from their systems and submit the data to an escrow service. All under the watchful eye of a trustworthy 3rd party.

      Now they're sitting on data they shouldn't have acquired in the first place, have the opportunity to harvest what they (think) they need and surripticiously insert it into the appropriate user's behavioural data (oh, no we didn't wifi-slurp this, this info was all exposed when [user x] used our system) before ordered to delete it.

      Sure, lots of people are screaming "see, told ya! they are evil", but Mountain View isn't treating this in a manner that proves the opposite.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mistake?

    If that's the size of "mistake" they can make then they must have absolutely no QA within Google.

    Why would anybody deal with a company that admits to being this incompetent? Why would anybody admit to being so grossly incompetent? Simple really. Because the alternative would be admit to being downright evil, and Google can't admit to that can they.

    One simple question though: Why has it taken so long?

    1. James Loughner
      Gates Horns

      MS?

      Why do people still use Window????

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Windows?

        Good question. I'm going home to brick mine up, the streetview cars might peep in through them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My take -- not popular I'm sure...

    As a long time CB-er and HAM I have to say, if your so stupid as to use a radio to transmit your packets you deserve what you get. Your network isn't hard wired? You are the idiot.

    However considering this involves more countries than the USA. Each country will need to work out any punishment -- if any.

    What I'd rather see is the breakup of this whole DHS / NSA spying cruft. And the NS letters, all of this crap has to go. It isn't being used on monetary system terrorists, it's being used in an ever expanding abuse on citizens. Perhaps this is a separate issue? Unless Google directly shares with fusion centers, and Nsa

    1. dephormation.org.uk

      You might be an idiot...

      ... but the criminal misconduct is entirely Google's to explain.

      No law in the UK requires you to use encryption. You use encryption to protect yourself from criminal interception.

      The offences are specified in RIPA and the Wireless Telegraphy Act, not to mention the Copyright Act (which also applies to the content of a communication).

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      A title

      "As a long time CB-er and HAM I have to say, if your so stupid as to use a radio to transmit your packets you deserve what you get. Your network isn't hard wired? You are the idiot."

      Actually I have a healthy distrust even of wired networks. That doesn't mean I don't use the Internet (I use it a lot) but I'm always mindful that once data leaves my home network anything could happen. Luckily I'm not so silly as to think anyone much cares about me so as long as financial transactions and information are secured I don't care.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: wired networks

        Spot on. WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy - does exactly what it says on the tin.

        Remember the furore recently at some security conference or other, when the organisers said upfront they'd be sniffing the wireless network to prove a point and delegates should watch out for it? Everyone got terribly careful about ensuring that their wireless connections were secured with the latest bum-covering protocols, checked out that any certificates offered were kosher and such. None of which made any bleedin' difference whatsover to the sniffer plugged into the LAN that all the access points were connected to.

        I thought they made a terribly good point myself.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never Mind the Bloody Code

    ... that they keep going on about, and keep saying it was just one man that did it.

    What about the hardware that was picking up the wifi from the local routers? Was that one man's responsibility? What was it doing there in the first place?

    Everybody is rather silent on this question.

    1. Colin Miller
      FAIL

      Mentioned several times already

      No, it has been mentioned several times, including by this esteemed organ and by the Google spokesdroid in BBC on Sunday.

      What Google was trying to do, was to capture all the SSIDs (WiFi base stations' ID number) that the car could detect. This would be mapped to the car's GPS location.

      Then a WiFI enabled device that doesn't have an active GPS (GPS eats batteries) can send all the SSIDs it can hear to Google and get a good idea of where it is (to about 10m, which is better than cell-based mapping).

      What Google ballsed up on was they recorded *everything* received, instead of discarding all but the SSIDs.

      Note that a WiFi's SSID is separate from its ASDL MAC number; Only the manufactures can map between them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        OK thanks

        I'm catching up. Slowly :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        OK thanks

        From this, and a comment on another article, I am now a bit better informed about what was going on.

        Now... i find it kind-of weird that Google wants to use *our* equipment as part of its position finding system. Can we each charge them a lot of money for that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          SSIDs?

          To be honest I don't think they'd bother much with SSIDs. They are far from unique. Mostly because most people seem to keep the default SSID. You couldn't locate yourself by finding a couple of SSIDs one of which was "Belkin" and the other "Netgear" could you?

          Much more likely they'd be looking for MACs.

          Either way everybody should change their SSID and MAC and then Google would be screwed.

          The funny thing is that I can see three APs from my house including mine, but Google can't track us down. Since their Astra came passed I've changed ISPs and got a new router. Next door's router went pop and was replaced and the guy opposite upgraded to 11n. This sort of thing will be happening world wide. As a result Google's geolocation service is getting more and more unreliable as time goes on.

  21. Wile E. Veteran
    Stop

    Do no evil?

    We're finding out Google is a least as evil as Microsoft and Oracle, if not an order or two magnitude morre so!

    I'll avoid a;\ll Google products from now on. Who knows what Android phoones reveal about you to the Chocolate Factor.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The secret is to bang the rocks together guys

    They should change their company motto to "Do no email"

  23. Velv Silver badge

    Show us just how sorry you are!

    *IF* Google is truly "mortified by what happened", then prove it.

    Many countries are investigating, and some fines may be imposed, but several investigations have closed with no further action. If Google wants to prove this was all a silly mistake and that it is really sorry, then it should make a Streetview donation to charity around the world.

    I'd suggest $1billion a year for a few years - a dedicated "Streetview" foundation, possibly with aims to help the homeless and impoverished around the world. This should be in addition to all existing donations the company makes (I'm assuming it makes some).

  24. TonyHoyle

    It's not that big a mistake, really

    They wanted to find out wifi locations for their location mapping (which is very useful, as it nicely augments GPS). To do that they sniffed the air for broadcasts and recorded the location of the broadcast + the SSID + MAC. No issues so far (that has been going on for years and is probably going on today.. there's entire companies dedicated to collating that kind of data).

    Their mistake was only to use code that kept the contents of the packets around after that data had been used. Reusing someone elses code without having full knowledge of what it does is something that probably happens every day in most companies, so it's not a major snafu really - but someone should have noticed before it got backed up.

    TBH anyone broadcasting wifi unencrypted has a lot more than google to worry about.. it's not like google is going to do anything with those packets, wheres all their neighbours and anyone passing their house now has their passwords, bank details, etc. because they might as well have been shouting them out of the window.

  25. multipharious

    Evil Google Icon (and an actual comment on legal hold)

    I suggested a G with horns and a tail a while ago. Looks from the splash banner on the main El Reg headlines today (Sunday 24th) for this other article that we might actually get it!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/22/google_apple_html5_open_source/

    My one comment (other than lambasting Google which can be taken as read) got nabbed by Alexander Hanff 1. Google did start to delete the data, but then when the legal proceedings started to queue up, they had to put a legal hold on everything that might pertain to it. Legal holds are a real nightmare especially if there is any sort of workflow or retention policies involved and the data was not properly partitioned. They could of course delete the data and face the fines there and the ire of the judges and politicians, but in this case the ignorant ploy seems to be working. Bastards. We know they did it on purpose to add another dimension to positioning where GPS is not available or spotty.

    Sending everyone off to privacy training reminds me of when Microsoft sent everyone to security training.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wifi Locations?

    What wifi locations? Private wifi locations?

    They scanned entire countries for wifi locations --- that they might have come across occasionally outside coffee bars?

    No: I see no need for them to have been even vaguely interested in wifi locations. No need for them to even have wifi scanners in those cars at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Geolocation

      The WiFi slurp was done in order to make their unreliable geolocation system work better. As far as I can tell they didn't inform the authorities in any countries they were going to be doing this, the streetview cars were a useful cover for this slurp.

      The problem they have as far as I can read it is that they intended just to pick up SSIDs and MACs. Certainly that's all they needed for their geolocation thing, but at some point a decision was made to slurp a whole lot more. No, I don't buy it that a single rogue coder managed to put that code live without the management knowing, somebody high up gave the OK. As a result I think that any sensible country should make them delete ALL the data, not just the personally identifiable bits. They should also fine Google very heavilly for breaching data protection legislation.

      Saying "we intend to delete the data as soon as possible" is not enough to avoid a fine under any DP legislation I'm aware of. Even "we've already deleted it" isn't enough. They collected it, they stored it, they processed it. They broke the law.

      And since they didn't ask for permission to slurp and store any Wifi data at all they should be forced to delete the whole damn lot as part of the punishment.

      Lets all screw up their geolocation stuff totally by all changing our SSIDs and MACs tomorrow.

    2. James Loughner
      FAIL

      No privicy

      You transmit you data in the clear to the world, what do you expect???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        "I don't buy it that a single rogue coder managed to put that code live

        without the management knowing, somebody high up gave the OK."

        Yeah, Management are well known for scanning through every line of source-code that goes out... especially stuff that's not going to be client-facing and will be handled by people with a dedicated support team behind them.

        If someone thought "Screw this 'filtering' malarky- it's slowing down my code too much. We've got a billion and one servers here, I'll just postprocess it. Surely everyone's encrypted anyway?" it wouldn't necessarily have even been mentioned to his supervisor. And if tested in Silicon Valley- which is mostly tech-savvy companies, so all the wifi around there will be encrypted- it wouldn't even have been picked up in testing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          not management, but someone

          A reasonably competent code reviewer, ie another developer, should have checked the code. This should have been checked against some form of design, which in turn should be mapped against specs & requirements. If it doesn't support a requirement, the reviewer should have queried why it's there. If there's no requirement specifying to either keep or discard the data, the requirements were severely lacking.

          It's an indirect route, but all of these "old fashioned" code development techniques, like speccing and designing, are there precisely to stop this sort of thing from happening.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I didn't

        1. My wifi network is not open.

        2. Google hasn't visited my part of the world with its cars, and I doubt that the government of this country will ever let it. (which is a pity because I think that Street View is wonderful)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I take it...

      You have not heard of Skyhook Wireless then?

  27. Gweilo
    WTF?

    big deal

    Google didn't intrude on anyone's private property.

    People broadcast unencrypted data that anyone with a laptop in a car could have "intercepted".

    If you undress in front of an open window you can't demand that everyone avert their eyes.

    For God's sake, pull the curtains/turn on WPA encryption.

    Google's default behaviour is to store all the data they come across and mine it. They wouldn't have deliberately used any of the "private" information (as in email text), but it would probably have remained in their files, unread, indefinitely if no one had complained

    Why people are worrying about this when Google as complete history of many people's email via GMail and their complete search history, every video they watch on Youtube, etc, I don't know.

  28. Steve Jones 2

    What Passwords??

    I understand that the blog post doesn't contain that much real detail, but what 'passwords' are we saying have been collected? Were they just random passwords contained in email text or were they WEP or (ADSL) connection passwords? Does anyone know where more detail is available? I agree with the majority on here, Google had no right to collect the data, even though it is unecrypted and therefore 'up for grabs' in some peoples opinion. But, it has to be asked, have they collected anything of real use?? It would appear not...

  29. Mark Rosher

    Missing the learning opportunity...

    To be honest, Google clearly did some evil; intentional or not remains a moot discussion. What should happen now seems not to be happening. Everyone who understands encryption and encryption techniques is shouting from the treetops how daft it is for anyone to not encrypt their wireless networks, but the folk who don't understand the technology - who just use it semi-blindly - aren't getting the message.

    Google could only gain kudos from this if they went out, as perhaps the major search engine on the planet, and headed their every page with 'is your wireless network secure... do you want to know more?'. After a year, the majority of user base would have thought, 'hmm, need to read that / act on that'. The rest will just fail.

    (Whether or not wireless encryption is truly effective, it would be the envelope on the letter - in terms what we've had here is everyone yelling their lives out of an open window, while Google has wandered past with a tape recorder switched on. You might think it naive, but that's what folk are doing on their home networks. And even then that's perhaps a secondary concern to the fact that their otherwise squeaky clean neighbour is downloading gigabytes of pr0n using their access details, probably (IANAL) making them the downloader in law.)

  30. The BigYin

    I'm not trying to defend Google...

    ...but I do wonder one thing. If people are blasting their passwords etc over the air and in the clear, why are they now upset that such data has been picked up? Surely the fault lies with those making their "private" information "public"?

    This doesn't excuse Google of anything, but I think the ignorance of the end-users (and the uncaring ineptitude of their equipment providers) is being overlooked.

  31. Red Bren
    Joke

    Go To Jail!

    If Google collected encrypted packets, the UK police and courts should demand they decrypt it. As we all know, excuses like "But I don't know the password" are not an acceptable defence. Google should be facing a 3-year stretch of pleasuring Her Majesty.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surveylence Society

    Speaking as a UK resident I already live in a surveylence society.

    Personally I would rather that Google was in control as I get some cool apps out of the bargin instead of having my money taxed to pay for it.

    I know that governments are supposedly more accountable than a private company but the only alternative to the current government is going back to Labour who installed most of the surveylence equipment in the first place.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Oh come on...

    What bemuses me is that Google is attempting to defend it's actions in terms of it being "accidental" harvesting of information.

    Can someone explain to me how it is possible to accidentally gather WiFi information without a deliberate decision to equip these vehicles with the necessary tech to receive and store the data? Accidental my arse...

    What did (do) they plan to do with this data? Should we be concerned that having located and analysed our WiFi networks with a quick drive past, that they will pop back one night to park outside some locations and have a more concerted pop at our network security?

  34. ShaggyDoggy

    Bad

    The really bad thing is that Google initially denied taking the data, then said that the data was innocuous and non-personal, then it "emerges" that it is personal and private info etc.

    What lies next ?

  35. D. M
    Jobs Horns

    Not Google has done no wrong

    No, that will be Apple if anyone has always been perfect. But use some brain power, it is not hard:

    1. Their "default" code is collecting everything they may use, and see what they can do with the data later. There is no mistake here. It was intended to collect everything. But I do not believe they are as evil as some well know companies yet.

    2. What they did not take into account is the amount of idiot who do not have any security on his/her wifi "network". you cannot blame google if people are stupid.

    There should be evil Google, but this will do for now.

  36. heyrick Silver badge

    Non-news rehash

    This story keeps being rehashed in various incarnations. Google went and sucked a load of UNENCRYPTED WiFi data, which most likely contained active data (emails, passwords, etc). This was a BAD thing to do, and speaks volumes about Google's exremely lackadaisical approach to this bizarre concept of "privacy".

    On the other hand, it highlights the very extreme importance of setting up your WiFi properly. Google snooped, as much as a snoop is possible in a moving car. As much as the fragments they received would be a fairly pointless mash-up of rubbish. Who else can snoop and collect more data, or worse, piggyback on your connection? It isn't difficult.

  37. BobGezelter

    Google Street View Logged Unencrypted Wi-Fi in passing; this is not significant

    There is a large difference in the expectation of privacy on encrypted vs. unencrypted transmissions. The use of unencrypted Wi-Fi is in and of itself a hazard to privacy, as is not having window shades, blinds, frosted glass or other ways of obscuring the view into your bathroom/bedroom.

    Google Street View vehicles logged some unencrypted Wi-Fi packets as they traveled neighborhoods. The vehicles switched channels every 0.20 seconds. While the odds of any individual having an email message or other private information logged is small, the sheer volume virtually ensured that some messages would be captured. This is in effect a replay of the old joke about monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare, and infinite time.

    However, the momentary snippets acquired by Google are not a significant hazard. One's own neighbors, who can easily have, or easily acquire the capability to monitor are a far more serious hazard. The true hazard here is that of using unencrypted Wi-Fi without a VPN, HTTPS, or some other encryption technology.

    A more extensive comment on this, with footnotes and references, can be found at http://rlgsc.com/r/20101025.html

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Bored inspiration on the bus.. Need a beer..

    At the risk of sounding slightly perverted, as a keen photographer I see a strong similarity between Google grabbing extra information while recording Wi-Fi data and a photographer using an IR filter while photographing public areas, with the analogy seeming stronger and stronger the more I think about it.

    The analogy will become clear as I explain.

    A bit of background info that I'm sure many of you techies will be aware of: High frequency EM waves are able to pass through some materials where lower frequency waves cannot - think high frequency T-waves in airport scanners being at one extreme, able to pass through clothing where the relatively lower frequency 'visible light' part of the spectrum cannot.

    To a lesser extent, a similar effect can be observed using the infra-red range - using an IR filter (to exclude non-IR/near IR) it is possible to 'see through' some fabrics. This is where the 'perverted' comes into play..

    How I imagine the analogy to play out:

    A1 - Google goes out intending to capture SSID+MAC info using equipment that allows inspection of non-normally accessible forms of communication (ie, you need equipment to be able to 'listen in on' a wi-fi stream of data)

    B1 - Photographer goes out intending to capture photographs in funky colours using equipment that allows inspection of non-normally viewable wavelengths of light

    A2 - Assuming innocence, Google is unaware of collecting extra data from passing networks secured+insecure that wasn't initially wanted (eg, it happens that all wifi signals are encrypted in the testing area and other cases just weren't expected or considered thus werent tested)

    B2 - Assuming innocence, the Photographer collects photos that happen to have passing ladies and gentlemen wearing relatively thin clothes and it happens that more 'image data' ** was collected than initially wanted (eg, the filter was tested in winter when thicker clothes were worn and other cases just weren't considered or thought about or expected, thus weren't tested for)

    A3 - Google continues as normal, ignorant of what is being stored.. maybe it was noticed at some point and maybe it was looked at in more detail or used, but its just easier to claim ignorance than fix what has been collected and less embarrasing if the error of collecting more than intended is never reported

    B3 - the Photographer continues as normal, ignorant of what is being stored.. maybe it was noticed at some point and maybe it was looked at in more detail or used, but its just easier to claim ignorance than fix what has been collected and less embarrasing if the error of collecting more than intended is never reported

    A4 - Germany says 'can I look at your data pls?' Google obliges, saying 'sure, theres nothing questionable there + Ive got nothing to hide'

    B4 - A friend of the Photographer asks 'can I look at your photos pls?' and the Photographer obliges, saying 'sure, theres nothing questionable there + Ive got nothing to hide'

    A5 - Germany notices extra data that shouldn't be there and publicly embarrasses and points a finger at Google.. Google publicly states that they didn't know about it as they didn't look at it once it had been transferred to the data centre but makes assurances that its only minor issues

    B5 - the friend notices that in many of the photos there are people with thick clothes on and you can just see faces etc but also many that have thin (now see-through) clothes on.. The 'friend' then publicly embarrasses and points a finger at the Photographer.. The Photographer then publicly states that they didn't know about it as they didn't look at it once it had been transferred to the NAS box, but makes assurances that its only a minor issue***

    A6 - Upon further inspection Google finds out that in fact they did do bad and store more than intended and contacts the countries for advice.. In many instances the data is deleted straight away at the request of the affected parties

    B6 - Upon further inspection the Photographer finds out that in fact they did do bad and store more than intended and contacts the people in the photos for advice****.. In many instances the photos are deleted straight away at the request of the affected parties

    A7 - When the other countries hear about it, they're a bit more concerned and say 'hold on, I want to find out exactly what it is you have stored and whether you've broken any of our laws - I want to know if youve acted criminally or if it was a mistake..'

    B7 - When the other people hear about it, they're a bit more concerned and say 'hold on, I want to find out exactly what it is you have stored and exactly how much trust youve broken - I want to know if youve been a pervert or if it was a mistake..'

    A8 - After so many mixed messages, Google decides to hold onto everything for now and let the people make their own decision rather than delete it all and face problems later with loss of trust because countries couldn't check it and make up their own mind

    B8 - After so many mixed messages, the Photographer decides to hold onto everything for now and let the people make their own decision rather than delete it all and face problems later with loss of trust because individuals couldn't check it and make up their own mind

    A9 - The situation drags on for months and months and as much as Google would like to keep the data and use it, it wants to get rid and have it all in the past rather than have it drag on

    B9 The situation drags on for months and months and as much as the Photographer would like to keep the data and 'use' it, it wants to get rid and have it all in the past rather than have it drag on..

    A10 - Google publicly states that they want to get rid of the data - after all we are not using it and have no need for it..

    B10 - the Photographer publicly states that they want to get rid of the data - after all we are not using it and have no need for it..

    A11 - Skeptics and conspiracy theorists continue to think and publicly worry that maybe Google is bad they should be stopped

    B11 - Skeptics and conspiracy theorists continue to think and publicly worry that maybe the Photographer is bad and a pervert who should be stopped

    A12 - Ignorant people who continue to not read up on the topic (or even just the comments on the current post where it is explained multiple times that it is to collect SSID+MAC addresses for the 'innocent'***** purpose of geolocation assistance) continue to post messages along the lines of 'they were just collecting streetview data, why have the equipment (wifi reciever+setup) if not for nefarious purposes zomgwtfbanana?!'

    B12 - Ignorant people who continue to not read up on the topic (or even just the comments on the current post where it is explained multiple times that it is to take photos with odd/beautiful changes to the hues etc) continue to post messages along the lines of 'they were just taking photos, why have the equipment (IR filter+camera+memory card) if not for nefarious purposes zomgwtfbanana?!'

    A13 - More ignorant people continue to post on these forums stating 'if you did not want anyone to listen to the secret part of your signal (the payload, not incl the header info-MAC/SSID etc), you should encrypt/hide the signal'.. or if you want it all hidden, take it somewhere that noone can else can pick up the signal - put yourself inside a faraday cage perhaps, with a single ethernet leading from the wireless router in there with you..

    B13 - More ignorant people continue to post on these forums stating 'if you did not want the light that is reflecting off your body through your clothes seen, you should wear more layers/hide yourself'.. or if you want all of the light reflecting hidden, take yourself somewhere that there is no light - put yourself in the Fridge with the door closed perhaps ******

    A/B14 - My bus journey comes to an end and I get bored of narrating further.. ;)

    I'm sure I've missed stuff out (disclaimer: I've only read the info here at the Register in passing) but I'm sure that parallels can be drawn for the majority, if not all, of the timescale.. There's enough here for you to get the point anyway.. Now I need a beer ;)

    +ktnxbai!

    ** - by 'extra image data', frankly, I mean a photo that shows what a person has under their thin/white/sheer top. Yes this can mean boobs.

    *** - this is perhaps the most tenuous part

    **** - yes, another unlikely part but please just go along with it for the moment..

    ***** - I'm not sure what I believe with respect to Google's actual innocence just yet, though the above narrative is presuming innocence in an example that could *very* easily be reversed..

    ****** - Okay, yes I made that last half up.. Gotta rush.. It begs the question of whether the light is *actually* off when you close the door though - maybe we should go check anyway =]

    Extra disclaimer:: This has only been *very* briefly proofread for obvious typos and the such.. Can't expect it all to be coherent this early in the morning ;)

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