Home Google Won’t Resume Its Street View Wi-Fi Collection

Google Won’t Resume Its Street View Wi-Fi Collection

Google won’t be resuming its use of Street View cars to collect information about Wi-Fi networks. So says the fine print of the Canadian Office of Privacy Commissioner’s statement today, that as we reported earlier, found that Google had violated Canadians’ privacy.

Google’s Street View project has raised a number of privacy concerns, most notably in May when the company announced that it had mistakenly included code in its Street View software that collected Wi-Fi payload data. Google halted the Wi-Fi data collection, but it was unclear if this was a permanent decision.

In the report issued today, Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that the “collection is discontinued and Google has no plans to resume it.” The plans, according to Stoddart, are to rely on users’ smartphones to collect the information on the location of Wi-Fi networks. Google uses this to build out its location-based services database, particularly in those areas with limited celltower strength.

The report does add that “although it has no tracking tool to keep records of a customer’s locations (and does not intend to create one), Google acknowledges that it does need to examine the potential privacy concerns of this method of collection.”

Currently, Google’s mobile privacy policy reads that “If you use location-enabled products and services, such as Google Maps for mobile, you may be sending us location information. This information may reveal your actual location, such as GPS data, or it may not, such as when you submit a partial address to look at a map of the area.”

“With Android, location-sharing is opt-in,” Google spokeswoman Christine Chen tells CNET. “Whether we’re talking about location provider services or individual apps that use location, Android provides users with notice and control over collection of location, sharing of location and use of location to help provide a better mobile experience… We don’t share individual location collected from user devices with any applications or services.”

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.