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Google Tells Congress It Disclosed WiFi Sniffing

theodp (442580) writes | more than 4 years ago

Google 0

theodp (442580) writes "While conceding 'it is clear there should have been greater transparency about the collection of this [WiFi] data,' Google asserted 'we have provided public descriptions of our location-based services' in their written response to Congress (pdf) about whether the public had been adequately informed of its data collection efforts. To prove their point, Google's how-many-times-do-we-have-to-tell-you answer included a link to a blog entry on My Location on the desktop, an odd choice considering that Google is still less-than-clear about exactly what's being captured by the service ('When My Location is active, Toolbar will automatically send local network information (including, but not limited to, visible WiFi access points)'). Congress may want to check out another as-yet unpublished Google patent filing — the 'inventors' include a Google Latitude Product Manager — that discusses the use of a 'mobile device data collection module' to 'collect data on a set of mobile devices which are using [a] wireless base station', including GPS location information, time information, and 'application specific data, such as, map requests, etc.' And while Google didn't link to it, Congress might also want to evaluate the transparency of this cute Google video, which assured the public of Street View's privacy safeguards, but gave no hint of the controversial WiFi collection."

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