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Google Has Mapped Every Router in Britain

Google has mapped every Wi-Fi router in every residence and business in Britain, according to the Daily Telegraph. This news is a result of an investigation in Germany earlier this month that uncovered that the company had downloaded emails and other personal information.

Using the Google Street View cars, Google explained it had intended to download what it called public information, such as MAC and SSID numbers. It has since pulled all of its Street View vehicles off the streets. But the mapping of Britain’s routers has already been completed.

Google’s collection of personal data has resulted in an inquiry in Germany and a lawsuit in the U.S. state of Oregon.

With 20,621 full-time employees, Google is a huge company and even something as small as its Maps section is itself vast. It has recently begun hiring 300 temporary workers to make fixes on its sometimes comically incorrect maps. Google has offered a pretty sincere-seeming apology for trapping the personal information.

But privacy is A-number-1 at getting people’s skivvies in a bunch. No one is likely to forget this fiasco soon, but straightening out the decision-making process that apparently let someone signing off on the data collection – or at the very least didn’t stop the collection from happening – would go a long way toward restoring faith in the company, and disincentivizing the litigiously inclined.

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