Google are hoovering up your wi-fi info - but it's all perfectly harmless!
Last week, it emerged that German Street View cars had been collecting MAC addresses and SSIDs from residents’ wireless networks. Google admitted that their UK cars are also doing the same thing, causing the ICO to rouse itself and demand a bit of an explanation.
Naturally, it’s all perfectly innocent. Google explained that… “The data which we collect is used to provide location-based services within Google products and to users of the Geolocation API. For example, users of Google Maps for Mobile can turn on 'My Location' to identify their approximate location based on cell towers and Wi-Fi access points which are visible to their device." All good, innocent fun then.
But, if you’re worried, Google have reiterated that they don’t pick up any transmissions from your router . And don’t forget, “the operator of the access point can choose to restrict the SSID from broadcast, and in many cases this will mean that the SSID is not received” bleated their communiqué.
So if you see a Google Street View car parked up, it possibly means that the driver has discovered an unsecured network and is downloading the latest episode of Glee or True Blood on to his laptop. Or possibly not.
Google – it’s becoming increasingly easy to hate them isn’t it?