Google Admits Tapping Into Private Wireless Networks

Google has come under criticism from European privacy regulators for its Street View project.

The swipe came after Google was forced to disclose that since 2006, it had been collecting private data about wireless networks while it compiled the photo database it needed for the Street View project.

Following an enquiry from European agencies as to how Google collected data, Google admitted (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/wifi-data-collection-update.html in a blog post that it had collected private data from around the world.

Google explained that it had been collecting private data from unencrypted wireless networks, including information about web traffic, had been collected by the Google cars as they visited the area to take photographs.

A note published earlier by Google claimed that the company only collected the names, or SSIDs, of wireless networks. But now the company has admitted that it had been 'mistakenly' collecting network payload information as well.

Ilse Aigner, the German Minister for Food and Agriculture said: “Based on the information we have before us, it appears that Google has illegally tapped into private networks in violation of German law.