Using its Street View service, Google has broken Canadian privacy laws by obtaining private information from open wireless networks.
Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, said in a statement that “Google did capture personal information — and, in some cases, highly sensitive personal information such as complete emails”, Google also apparently collected names, telephones numbers, addresses and usernames and passwords.
Mobile and Laptop users Beware
Sensitive Information Gathered
Potentially, thousands of Canadians could be concerned about these reports and some more than others as several particularly sensitive pieces of information where collected, such as a list of people who are suffering from different medical conditions, including their names and all their contact details.
In early June the Office of the Privacy Commissioner began investigating Google’s data collection technique after several other countries started to do so. This all arose from one of Google’s engineers testing a new bit of code that was supposed to pick up Wi-Fi transmission points to develop for other location-based services, but they inadvertently ended up collecting private information that was not encrypted or password protected.
As soon as Google realised what they had done they stopped its Street View car fleet and told the appropriate authorities. Google then released a statement on its blog, explaining that the data collected was an accident.
Jennifer Stoddart has given Google till 1st February to delete all of the personal data that was obtained but they are allowed to keep any relevant useful data as long as it is secured and access to it is restricted.