Google Scandal

I ran across this story a few days ago and think it is very relevant to the issues of privacy we have been discussing in class. To summarize the news story the search engine giant Google has recently paid out 7 million dollars to 38 states after being caught capturing and storing unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic and passwords while capturing photos for its Street View service. Although this article doesn’t go into it much Google is blaming this privacy infringement on faulty software and a corrupt employee. Although it is suspected that several Google managers where aware of the employees intentions and did nothing to stop it.

Most shocking is the FCCs nearly unphased reaction to the obvious infringement of privacy stating: “wasn’t clear that Google violated federal wiretap laws by collecting unencrypted personal data that people transmitted over their wireless home (Wi-Fi) networks” and issuing the multi-billion dollar company a petty 25,000 dollar fine. So, just because your traffic is unencrypted does it give someone (namely Google) the right to collect and store it? Another thing this article neglects to mention is that Google is able to map all of this personal information to your home address by triangulating the Wi-Fi signal. So, what does everyone think, is the FCC right? just because your Wi-Fi isn’t encrypted does Google have the right to collect passwords and personal information(with your address attached to it)? or is do people have the right to privacy no matter how encrypted(or not encrypted) it is?

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