Google has finally accepted that it harvested personal data from wireless networks as its fleet of vehicles drove down residential roads taking photographs for the Street View project. And yet only a few months ago it would have screamed ‘blue murder’ if anyone intimated that this had happened.
Now it transpires that millions of internet users have potentially been affected. Google’s acknowledgment of guilt is an interesting U-turn from its earlier assertion that no sensitive personal information had been taken.
Google has now confessed that its, “…vehicles had also gather(ed) information about the location of wireless networks, the devices which connect computers to the telecommunications network via radio waves.”
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that, “…Privacy International lodged a complaint with Scotland Yard earlier this year about Google’s Street View activities and officers are still considering whether a crime has been committed.
Google is facing prosecution in France and a class action in the US, with similar lawsuits pending in other countries.”
The full story can be read at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8083008/Google-spied-on-British-emails-and-computer-passwords.html
Whilst this development does not relate specifically to RFID or contactless technology as such, nonetheless it’s an excellent example of a large multi-national operation initially stating – “guys, what’s the problem – there’s nothing to worry about your wireless internet connection because we’ve ensured that it’s 100% secure” – and then a few months later we arrive at a different place – “…er, you know that technology that we told you was secure, well there’s been a slight issue with it and as a result your email, passwords and other sensitive information are now in the public domain – whoops, sorry about that…”
Therefore it could be reasonably argued that whilst today contactless credit, debit, Oyster, and Olympics 2012 RFID passes are all being sold as 100% safe – tomorrow may bring with it a different view…
Watch this space, and in the meantime can you afford not to protect your biometric details now?