Jacqui Cheng reports:
Google is attempting to clear the air on exactly what kind of data it collects when its Street View cars roll in front of your house, and how it uses that information.
It’s the WiFi information that has gotten Google into trouble recently, with German officials asserting that this type of data collection is illegal there. Fleischer says the company collects SSID information as well as the MAC addresses of WiFi routers it encounters along the Street View route—this is for use in Google’s location-based services, a la Skyhook Wireless‘ services that are widely used on mobile devices without GPS. Google insists that it only collects SSID and MAC information on routers that broadcast the names publicly, as that information is accessible by anyone walking down the street with a WiFi-compatible device.
What Google doesn’t do is make this data—at least in its raw form—available to the public.
Read more on Ars Technica.