Monday, June 21, 2010

Cuccinelli: Google collected personal data while mapping streets

This June 18th article from the Virginian-Pilot is exceedingly frustrating to me. It’s a short article so I’m going to paste it here.

“Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is warning residents about protecting their computer networks to keep their personal information safe.

“Cuccinelli says the warning comes in light of recent admissions by Google that the company has collected personal data from unsecured wireless networks while mapping out its Street View service.

“He says Google acknowledged gathering information from networks while driving around the country.

“Cuccinelli is working with Google find out about any activity conducted in Virginia and is asking the company disclose the nature of any data collected from Virginia residents.

“The attorney general's office says that computer users should install and maintain antivirus software on their computers and set up password protections.”

Now, as someone who feels that keeping computers and their peripherals running correctly is a foreign language, I still have to say there is no reason to allow your networks to remain unprotected. If you can’t do it yourself, then you need to hire someone to do it for you! Hell, my husband speaks this foreign language very fluently and I know our whole system is secure.

But the real outrages to me are these:
1. When did this collection take place and for how long? According to this blog, it was done sometime in 2008. The Virginian-Pilot agrees with that, saying the Hampton Roads street image maps were introduced in June 2008. Why are we just hearing about it now?

2. How many households were at risk during this time?

3.“Cuccinelli is working with Google find out about any activity conducted in Virginia and is asking the company disclose the nature of any data collected from Virginia residents.” He shouldn’t have to ASK. He should just demand to know, and if need be, back it up with the correct legal paperwork to know what Google found out.

4.Why did Google need to collect that personal data while working on street views? Did they do it on purpose? If it was an accident, then so be it.

I’m not much of a Google fan (I’m still a Yahoo! user) but when I’m at work, I can’t access Yahoo! If I were a Google user already, I think this might make me want to switch what search engine I typically use. I don’t want to support Google because this whole collection thing seems shady to me.

2 comments:

  1. Yah you're right. thanks for the information..

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  2. Thanks for the comment.

    It's just ridiculous. Even though our stuff at home is secure, this actually really still pisses me off. When you consider that Google hasn't apparently street mapped all of Hampton Roads (I checked a friend's neighborhood and couldn't get to street level), is this "problem" going to happen again?

    And I bet you money that we won't hear anymore about this.

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