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WiFi data collection: An update
Friday May 14 the Irish Data Protection Authority asked us
delete the payload datawe collected in error in Ireland.
all data identified as being fromIreland was deleted over the weekend in the presence
an independent third party.
Data Protection Authorities in the other relevant countries about
the remaining data as quickly as possible.You can read the letter from theindependent
party, confirming deletion,here.
[original post]Nine days ago the data protectionauthority(DPA)
Hamburg, Germanyasked toaudit theWiFi data that ourStreetView cars collect for use
location-based products like Google Mapsfor mobile, which enables people to find local restaurants or get directions. His requestprompted us to re-examine everything
have been collecting, and during ourreview
discovered that a statement made
ablog poston April 27 was incorrect.
that blog post, and
a technical note sent to data protection authorities the same day, wesaid that while Google did collect publicly broadcast SSID information (the WiFi network name)and MAC addresses (the unique number given to a device like a WiFi router) using Street Viewcars,
did not collect payload data (information sent over the network).But it's now clear thatwe have been mistakenly collecting samples
payload data from open (i.e.non-passwordprotected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data
any Google products.However,
will typically have collected only fragments
payload data because:our cars areon the move; someone would need to be using the network as a car passed
and our in-carWiFi equipment automatically changes channels roughly five times a second.
addition, wedid not collect information traveling over secure, password-protected WiFi networks.So how did this happen? Quite simply, it was a mistake. In 2006 an engineer working
anexperimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories
publiclybroadcast WiFi data. A year later, when our mobile team started a project to collect basic WiFinetwork data like SSID information and MAC addresses using Google's Street View cars, theyincluded that code
the project leaders did not want, and had nointention
using, payload data.As soon as
this problem, we grounded our Street View cars andsegregated the data
our network, which
then disconnected to make it inaccessible.Wewant to delete this data as soon as possible, and are currentlyreachingout to regulators
therelevant countries about how to quickly dispose
Maintaining people's trust is crucialtoeverything we do, and
this case we fell short. So wewill
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