Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd May 2010 21:18 UTC
Google This issue kind of fell by the wayside in all the WebM and Android violence, but apart from the cool things Google did this past week, they've also done something really bad. They claim it's a mistake, but the company has collected 600GB of data from open personal wireless networks in 33 countries through its Street View cars, prompting several countries to initiate official investigations into the search giant.
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by mrhasbean on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:14 UTC
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Search providers deal with lots of data, and much of it is private. There are other less invasive methods of locating people to within an area that is small enough for most static applications. Or here's a suggestion, ask them if they WANT their location stored so that search results can be customised. On mobile devices - well at least on the iPhone, I can't speak first hand for many of the others - you are asked if you want to allow location services to find your position.

As I drive along in my local area My iPhone regularly asks me if I want to join wifi networks it locates. This doesn't give me the right to collect all the locations and use that information for my own purposes. Especially when their targeted search results are just another marketing tool for them to sell their advertising.

This follows further too. Just because I might put a file that contains personal information on a server somewhere for a short period buried deep in a random folder structure so that someone in another part of the world can gain quick access to it doesn't mean I want Google to index it and serve it up in their search results. While there are methods to prevent this they are not known by a lot of people. I believe at the moment all search providers are afforded way too much freedom. The web has matured to a stage where I believe they should have to be specifically allowed by the user to search and index sites. No code in the header to allow it = no index.

We just need some governments to stand up and have the kahunas to do something about it, but then, with the amount of data governments collect on people it would be a bit like Tommy Lee giving Tiger Woods a lecture on commitment.

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