Google services, such as Google Maps Street View and Latitude, have been found to use unauthorised data captured from unencrypted WiFi networks, according to CNIL, the National Commission for Information Freedom in France.
The French authority conducted a series of spot checks and found that Google was collecting data from unencrypted WiFi networks without the knowledge of the individuals. Google claim this data was collected “by mistake.”
CNIL says that the data captured includes technical data, as well as sensitive personal information such as usernames, passwords, login details and even email exchanges revealing sensitive information about sexual orientation or health.
Google received notice in May 2010 from CNIL, asking the internet giant to amend its data tracking behaviour. The company was subsequently fined €100,000 last week for failing to deal with the request in a timely manner.
Since 2007, Google cars record panoramic views of locations to offer their internet service Street View. CNIL noticed that the vehicles deployed in France captured and recorded not only photographs but also data transmitted by unencrypted wireless networks, all without the knowledge of the users.
CNIL says that Google has pledged to stop the unauthorised data collection, but that the internet giant continues to use the data it recorded “by mistake”.
The fine can’t be anything but an mild annoyance to the internet giant. Perhaps it is comparable to a fly flying past a bowl of soup.
Those of us who haven’t got around to encrypting personal or business WiFi networks need to wake up. If you have personal and sensitive stuff you want to keep private, encrypt your files, encrypt your WiFi and use a hard-to-guess password. Even if Google did collect all this data in gross, but wonderfully self-serving, error, it is goes to show how unauthorised personal data can be used to a company’s gain.
7 comments on “French commission fines Google €100,000”
Do we know in what form or fashion Google is using the data? I'm curious about the citation of private e-mail exchanges, usernames and passwords, and information about people's sexual orientation, against the assertion "Google services, such as Google Maps Street View and Latitude, have been found to use unauthorised data captured from unencrypted WiFi networks"
I suspect some of the data they picked up is not being used at all. We also don't know whether the individuals whose data was inadvertently picked up were told that their private information is in someone else's hands. Might be worth looking for this specific information on the CNIL website.
I knew I should've paid more attention in French class.
As far as anyone know, they never ever used that data recorded from open WLAN payloads, or even merely looked at it.
If the “Commission for public deception while pretending to protect freedom” didn’t looked at that “private” data, nobody would have known about private emails, sexual orientation, or medical data from a clinic.
Apparently, that a clinic use open Wifi to transfer medical record is nobody’s problem in France.
Mrs Mmlles Mmes : le sexe se pratique dans le vécu réel et devant tout le monde alors est ce que c'est secret à ce point ou est ce maudit??????!!!:!!!!!!!ON A PLUS BESOIN DE WEB "google ou autre" pour ramasser des déviations et la réalité parle concrètement sexe et déviation…on a dépassé la cybernétique à l'acte…
personnellement si qq'un veut voir mes e-mails je lui donne mon aresse parce je ne fais rien de mal ou d'anormal pour me cacher d'ailleurs mes secrets scientifiques je ne les héberge pas dans mes e mails mais dans un coffre fort à part ca je n'ai pas de secrets n'étant pas dévié des normes….voilà voici!!!!!
“National Commission for Information Freedom ”
It’s “commission nationale informatique et libertés”!
very approximately: National Commission for Computers and Freedom!
Please ask someone who understands French!