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FTC gives clean chit to Google on privacy breach

Google says street cars collected data uknowingly The inquiry is still going on in Italy and other countries to check the allegations of privacy breach by the company.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has closed its inquiry into the allegations that Google has collected data from private unsecured Wi-Fi networks through its Street View cars.

The U.S. regulators said that the privacy reforms announced by Google last week are 'satisfactory.' The decision has been being criticized severely by online privacy activists.

The inquiry is still going on in Italy and other countries to check the allegations of privacy breach by the company.

Google has announced that it has appointed a director of privacy for engineering and product management, started providing basic privacy training to its employees. The company also announced that it will not use the ‘inadvertently collected’ 600 gigabytes of data.

FTC satisfied with Google
FTC director David C. Vladeck said, “This assurance is critical to mitigate the potential harm to consumers from the protection of payload data. Because of these commitments, we are ending our inquiry into this matter at this time.”

Google acknowledged in May that its Street View cars have been collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in 30 countries for the last four years.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google has apologized for this breach of privacy and expressed satisfaction that federal regulators have appreciated the steps taken by the company.

Street View cars are used for taking street level photographs and also for mapping Wi-Fi networks for smartphone location services.

Google says data collected unintentionally
Google said that it came to know that it was collecting “pay load data” only when privacy authorities from Germany requested to check records.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google has apologized for this breach of privacy and expressed satisfaction that federal regulators have appreciated the steps taken by the company.

Google said in a statement, “As we have said before and as we have assured the FTC, we did not want and have never used the pay load data in any of our products or services.”

On the other hand many internet privacy protagonists have criticized the government for ending its inquiry especially when many European countries are contemplating to start investigations against Google for criminal violations of privacy.

Jeffery Chester, Executive Director of the Digital Democracy said that it is beyond his comprehension why the FTC has given a clean chit to Google.

John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said that the FTC should have followed the example of Canadian privacy officials who released a report, informing Canadians that Google's Street View cars have collected e-mails, website addresses and passwords.