Skip to main content

Google Engineer Told Colleagues About Wi-Fi Snooping

The whole StreetView car Wi-Fi episode refuses to stop haunting Google, with the latest revelation being that the Google engineer behind the data collecting did in fact tell several colleagues about it - including a senior manager.

Previously, Google had insisted the data was collected from wi-fi networks across the globe by mistake, and the scheme was down to one engineer. However, it has now emerged that the engineer behind the implementation of the project spilled the beans to others way back in 2007, and then once more the following year.

This information has come to light due to a report from the Federal Communications Commission, which noted that five engineers collaborated over the code for the StreetView Wi-Fi exercise, but they didn't realise the system could collect "payload data".

Two weeks ago, the FCC decided that Google hadn't broken the law with its actions, but had impeded the investigation into the matter, so it fined the search giant a fairly meaningless $25,000 (almost £16,000).

Google published the FCC report yesterday, with a spokesman saying: "We decided to voluntarily make the entire document available except for the names of individuals. While we disagree with some of the statements made in the document, we agree with the FCC's conclusion that we did not break the law. We hope that we can now put this matter behind us."

Perhaps this is the last we'll hear of it, but we wouldn't bet on that.

Source: The Guardian (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.