Google Knew Street View Was Snatching Data: FCC

Engineer told manager exactly what was happening, says report
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2012 10:54 AM CDT
Google Knew Street View Was Snatching Data: FCC
A Street View car: Coming to privacy near you.   (AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg)

The fact that Google's Street View operation was snatching citizens' personal data from the air shouldn't have come as a surprise to company execs—because their own engineer told them it was happening, according to a new federal report. Google has maintained all along that secret collection of personal data from millions of household through wireless networks was a complete surprise. But a Google engineer who wrote the code enabling Street View cars to do exactly that informed fellow engineers and a manager, says the FCC report obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Google reluctantly made the report public after several organizations filed public record requests. "While we disagree with some of the statements, we agree with the FCC's conclusion that we did not break the law," said a Google spokeswoman. "We hope that we can now put this matter behind us." Google was fined $25,000 earlier this month for stonewalling a federal investigation into the two-year data-snatch. Google still has the data. Privacy advocates blast both Google and regulatory agencies for failing to police the company. (Read more Google stories.)

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