Skip to main content

Google Street View Password Fiasco Won't Undermine Public Trust

Search giant Google has yet to explain in details how and why it captured data that was broadcasted over unsecured corporate and domestic wireless networks while collecting pictures for its popular Street View mapping service.

Google has already fessed up to the fact tha tit did indeed make a big mistake and that it was not something it intended to do in the first place.

The original post providing (opens in new tab) with more details as to how this unravelled earlier this year (with a number of updates), can be found on Google's official blog.

Interestingly the post had been penned by Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research, a techie, rather than the General Legal counsel of the company, a move that shows that Google doesn't seemingly acknowledge (back then) that it did anything wrong.

The fact though that Google has collected more than 600GB of data over several months in 30 countries does provide the search giant with a massive database, one that has surely been shared within the company and gives it a competitive advantage over competitors.

Unfortunately, the whole episode won't undermine public trust in the company, whose influence on our lives, now span from controlling our communication channels (online, TV, video, books, voice) to monitoring what we buy (Google Checkout, Adwords, adsense).

Blaming a single individual engineer as well as a breakdown in communication doesn't hide the wider picture especially given the fact that the code existed (and has been used for more than four years).

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.