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Googlemobiles Are Scanning German Wi-Fi Networks

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According to The Register, Google Street View cars in Germany have been scanning Wi-Fi networks and recording users' Media Access Control (MAC) address, which are unique identifiers assigned to networks, without permission. The country's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar isn't happy about it, either. "I am appalled... I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View," he told a German broadcaster. This isn't the first time Street View has riled up some European folks with privacy concerns. But recording MAC addresses is a big deal, since a person's identity could eventually be culled from this data by cross-referencing it with other data.

However, German news magazine Spiegel reports that Google has been doing this since 2008. If that's true, we wonder why nobody has said anything before now? The issue is that geolocation information is collected by myriad sources, from ISPs to cell providers, all hoping to map and track what Google calls "publicly broadcast information." Obviously, a compromise will be reached between Google and the Germans' desire for privacy. After all, Google agreed to blur faces a couple years back, even going as far as blurring Colonel Sanders' face. [From: The Register, via: Google Blogoscoped]

Tags: germany, google, GoogleMobile, GoogleStreetview, mac address, MacAddress, privacy, security, top, wifi