Google Street View And Our Personal Data!
Korea Police Confiscate Google Street View
Google Street View is in trouble in South Korea over the fact that Google's street cars have been collecting personal data along with pictures of the streets that it photographs! Evidently the WIFI system that is attached to the camera is meant to pick up certain data so that it can be accurate when placing the pictures with the right area and postcode. So what's been going on there? Evidently South Korea raided Google's Offices, and confiscated all their computers storing Google Street View Cars, in that country.
Google was ready to go with their Street View cars, and had already sent them out on the streets of South Korea, complete with their WIFI technology and camera's purely to collect information for their Google Maps. It is believed that the Korean authorities are reacting to the earlier news from around the world, and maybe are just being over cautious. It is not known whether Google have taken away the code from their equipment that caused the trouble in the first place!
So just what have those Google guys been up too? Well it seems that they have got themselves into a stewpot of a mess! Earlier this year, Google Street View cars were investigated by France, American and the UK for collecting information on their WIFI thingy on the top of the Google Car Camera. This Wireless WIFI thingy has been a naughty little WIFI. It has been collecting personal data from people's Computers, as it has gone sailing past your house while taking pictures. Google states that the WIFI is used to collect wireless data as it travels around, so determining the positioning of the road ands areas for the Internet and Google Maps. What it forgot to mention was the fact that it had a code implanted in it, that should have been taken out before using it for Google Street View. Google says it was a 'mistake', and humbly apologize. They said that it had been used for a previous WIFI project and they had forgotten to remove it. Fair enough, but what data did they 'collect'?.
Personal Payload Data
Following a request by data protection authorities in Germany, it came to light that Google had grabbed data from non secure hotspots and this had been going on for years. So of course Google had to come up with the information that it had collected and show exactly what it implied. To start with, it seems that Google had somehow got information on personal passwords and maybe access to more private things like bank details etc.
With great relief Google was cleared of the charges in the UK because it seems that the information that they had recieved was so small and insignificant that the samples they took did not break any data protection laws.
Google was mortified and said this was a mistake, but the ICO (information Commissioner office) said Google was wrong to collect it, and be careful in the future.
Still Under Investigation
Google is still under investigation in the UK even thought they have been cleared there, they are still keeping an eye on the situation, and France Spain Germany and Australia. In the States Google faces a class action lawsuit of the data incident, and are still under investigation in at least 38 American States.
Now we all know how much Big Brother seems to be peering over our shoulders these days, so it's not surprising when we suddenly hear about a breach of trust or violation of our privacy, we tend to go slightly mad. This is what has been happening in the Google world of Google Street View recently. Google in all their innocence, and I quite believe that statement, went ambling off across the country and the world, doing what they do best, taking pictures of our neighbourhoods, showing us the streets and towns that we would probably never manage to get too through lack of money or time off from work, and let's face it, it is also very useful because it shows us exactly what a, well, unpleasant place you may have made the mistake of travelling too! and believe me when I say that I have fallen into the brochure trap before! Like I am sure most of you have.
My Personal review
Well what do you all think about this? I personally think that Google is a very reputable firm who would not go out of their way to deliberately 'spy' on any country or citizens of that country. Lets look at the facts.
1.What good would it do them to know about our personal passwords? Let's face it, most of our passwords are in Google anyway, all they would have to do is log in themselves!
2. Why would they want our bank details or online buying accounts? Google is a multi million pound or dollars industry, I don't think that they would want our money however much we have in the bank!
3.Why would they do this so openly, knowing that they could possibly be found out and prosecuted?
4. And last but not least, does anybody think that Google would be stupid enough to go to Korea and steal their citizens personal data?!
No I don't think so!
The Uk has given them the all clear and has done a thorough investigation into this allegation. We have found them innocent if perhaps a bit naive! Even though it is ongoing and being monitored.
Google is probably one of the most trustworthy companies on the internet. They would not gain anything by stealing or trying to get any data that would advance them in any way. They are one of the most successful organisations on the planet. They do not need any help in becoming more successful.
But that is my opinion.
The only thing I would like to say to them is, why haven't you made sure that your WIFI has a reliable code in it? Or is it because where technology is concerned maybe, by picking up any form of radio signal from any given spot, there is no way on Earth that you can filter it completely? or maybe I am wrong, what do I know?
So, as I said, that's my opinion.
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