Google collected the unique identifying addresses of computers and mobile phones that used wi—fi networks whose data was logged by the company’s Street View vehicles, technology website CNet.com reported Monday.
The report represents a further privacy problem for the US—based web search giant, after a government audit last year in Germany revealed that Google’s Street View cars were collecting personal data from unsecured wi—fi networks, including email addresses and phone numbers.
Google said that the information had been accidentally collected and claimed to have initiated strict protocols to prevent a recurrence.
CNet said that the new privacy lapse highlighted another loophole in Google’s system.
Street View cars were meant to collect the locations of wi—fi access points, a widely used method to help smartphones figure out their location in the absence of strong cell—phone or GPS signals.
While recording that information, the Google vehicles also scooped up the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wi—fi networks and made the data available over a publicly accessible database.
Google competitor Apple has faced its own privacy issues over its now discontinued practice of recording logs showing the approximate location data of millions of iPhones.
The report said that Google has now discontinued the practice, and that the data it collected is no longer publicly available. The company declined to comment on the report.
Keywords: Street View