Hey Google! Stop peeking at my data!
Back in May, the story broke that Google had… let’s say “accidentally” captured data from home and business wifi networks. As the “street view” camera cars drove around and mapped a few things, Google admitted they ‘may’ have captured some data from wifi networks in the area. Google had originally said that only data from unencrypted networks and hot spots were captured, and that, according to PC Magazine: “A Google spokesperson said the Street View cars have been collecting the information since 2006 in more than 30 countries… [Google’s Alan Eustace said] ‘As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible.'”
Many, many people have said over and over that a computer can only do what it’s been told to do, and that “mistakes” of this nature don’t happen – and certainly would’ve been noticed more than 4 years ago. If you capture data from wireless networks, you’re going to see a large amount of data – much more than the standard photo data. Someone had to have noticed this. But, fine, whatever. Let’s all accept that Google made a mistake. No harm, no foul, right? So we thought.
Google recently admitted that they may have captured more than just ‘bits and pieces of data’ but entire emails, personally identifiable email address, and even passwords. It’s not the “admission” of this that’s bothering me, it’s the fact that GOOGLE IS STILL ANALYZING THE DATA THEY CLAIMED THEY HAD ACCIDENTALLY CAPTURED! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Stop it! Stop looking at it! Delete it! Demagnetize then shred the hard drives! Lose the data, my data, anybody’s data – four years and 30 countries with of data!
The fact that people are reporting on this, and overlooking the fact that Google is clearly harvesting this data like any other search data that people come to their website and give them or agree to the Terms of Service in their GMail account is absurd! More journalism and technology outlets need to condemn Google’s actions, not just report on them. It is unacceptable that Google is treating this data like anything else in their possession when it was obtained, if not illegally, certainly questionably. Why aren’t more people reporting on that side of the story? I can only assume nobody wants to anger the big machine – but I hope that someone notices what I’ve noticed, and takes Google to task for it.