Google accused of 'criminal intent'
It looks like Google is "almost certain" to face prosecution after they collected data from unsecured wi-fi networks whilst going about their StreetView project, according to Privacy International (PI).
Google has released an independent audit of the rogue 'sniffing' code, which it has claimed was mistakenly included in the StreetView software. However, PI is still convinced that this audit proves "criminal intent".
"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," said PI in a statement.
"The Germans are almost certain to prosecute. Because there was intent, they have no choice but to prosecute," said Simon Davies, head of PI to the BBC. "I don't see any alternative but for us to go to Scotland Yard."
Google are blaming this error on an unnamed engineer and stated: "As we have said before, this was a mistake. The report today confirms that Google did indeed collect and store payload data from unencrypted wi-fi networks, but not from networks that were encrypted. We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities to respond to their questions and concerns."
PI are not having that though: "The idea that this was a work of a lone engineer doesn't add up. This is complex code and it must have been given a budget and been overseen. Google has asserted that all its projects are rigorously checked," said Mr Davies. "It goes to the heart of a systematic failure of management and of duty of care."