IDG News Service - German prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation over whether Google broke data protection regulations when it collected fragments of Wi-Fi data while shooting imagery for its mapping application.
The probe, conducted by the Hamburg Prosecutor's Office, follows Google's admission that it mistakenly collected the content of communications from non-password protected Wi-Fi networks using its Street View vehicles, which photograph streets for the Google Maps service.
The Hamburg prosecutor's office is at an early stage in the case, spokesman Wilhelm Möllers said today.
Möllers said his office will investigate how Google was collecting the data, but that it may be at least two weeks before a decision is made whether to file charges.
Google said it collected Wi-Fi network data, such as SSID (Service Set Identifier) information and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses. The company said it only collected fragments of personal Web traffic as its Wi-Fi equipment automatically changed channels five times a second. Wi-Fi networks can carry several megabytes of data per second.
The criminal probe marks an additional problem for Google in Germany, which has been under ongoing scrutiny from Hamburg's Data Protection Agency.
The Data Protection Agency has the power to assess penalties against Google, and has asked the company to turn over by next Wednesday a hard drive from one the vehicles collecting the data, according to an official from the agency.
"We have several problems with Street View and more problems with WLAN" scanning, she said.
Although Google has collected Street View data for Germany, the service has not been launched there. Google has not yet fully responded to a set of 13 points compiled by the Data Protection Agency that it says are necessary to comply with German laws, she said.
One of those points is agreeing to delete images of peoples' homes from Street View before those images go live, she said. In other locales, Google will remove an image on request, but only after publication.
Germany's privacy laws generally restrict photographs of people and property without a person's consent, except in very public situations, such as a sporting event.
The Data Protection Agency also requested that Google more thoroughly blur peoples' faces and that those partially censored images be permanently deleted from its databases.
Italy's data protection authority and the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) are also reviewing Google's Wi-Fi scanning. The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office said Google appeared to have breached data protection requirements, but that it would not pursue the company after Google agreed to delete the data.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
- Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse
- Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center
- Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- OpenStack and Red Hat: IDC White paper
- Most OpenStack deployments are by public cloud providers that are early adopters of technology and use OpenStack in a do-it-yourself deployment and support... All Government IT White Papers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- All Government IT Webcasts