Privacy International issued a statement yesterday
Google today published an audit on its blog of the code used to collect Wi-Fi data as part of the company’s global Street View operation. The report asserts that the system had intent to identify and store all unencrypted Wi-Fi content. This analysis establishes that Google did, beyond reasonable doubt, have intent to systematically intercept and record the content of communications and thus places the company at risk of criminal prosecution in almost all the 30 jurisdictions in which the system was used.
The independent audit of the Google system shows that the system used for the Wi-Fi collection intentionally separated out unencrypted content (payload data) of communications and systematically wrote this data to hard drives. This is equivalent to placing a hard tap and a digital recorder onto a phone wire without consent or authorisation.
Read more here.
Not surprisingly, it’s been picked up in a lot of media sources. Louisa Hearn of The Age in Australia reports that not all privacy organizations agree with Privacy International’s interpretation of the audit:
Local privacy campaigner Electronic Frontiers Australia was sceptical of claims by Privacy International that the audit demonstrated criminal intent.
“No evidence like that contained in the audit could possibly prove that Google did [collect data] deliberately,” said vice chairman, Geordie Guy.
“It is still absolutely an open question. It could be that down the track we discover that Google did it deliberately but that is not determined in this report.”