Google defends Street View privacy

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Google defends Street View privacy

All your MAC address are belong to us.

Google has given the public a "refresher" on its Street View privacy following concerns expressed about its lack of data protection by German authorities.

Google was forced to respond on its European Public Policy Blog in a post telling the public exactly what the score is with the data collected by its roving camera cars.

The refresher is really just an exercise in response to a beef with Germany's Data Protection Authority (DPA).

The German DPA suggested that anonymously collecting location data using Street View cars might be illegal.

Google is collecting MAC addresses to expand its Geo Location API service. This provides consumers with limited triangulated location awareness for anyone without a GPS.

The problem is that Google "did not think it was necessary" to tell the DPA in Germany that it is doing this.

"We do not believe this is illegal - this is all publicly broadcast information which is accessible to anyone with a WiFi enabled device," said a Google spokesperson.

Google also took the opportunity to say, "it's not just us." Apparently Microsoft, SkyHook and Teleatlas are also collecting the same photos and WiFi network information.

"Many other companies have been collecting data just like this for as long as, if not longer," said Google.

Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here. (c) 2010 Incisive Media

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