Google: Software engineer to blame for privacy debacle

Google denied a link between a 2008 patent application and its highly publicized privacy debacle over the search giant's practice of gathering information from unsecured WiFi networks.

A lawsuit filed against Google over the privacy issues in an Oregon federal court mentions a November 2008 patent application filed by Google for technology that gathers, analyzes and uses data from WiFi networks. The lawsuit claims there's a link between the patent and Google's alleged illegal actions.

Google admitted in May that it inadvertently collected private information but did not use it. "That patent application is entirely unrelated to the software code used to collect Wi-Fi information with Street View cars," said a Google spokesman in an e-mail to Computerworld.

Google instead is blaming a software engineer who created the code. In an interview with the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company was conducting an internal investigation against the engineer and claims the code was added without Google's knowledge to its Street View location service.

In addition, Google said it would hand over the privacy data it collected from unsecured networks to European regulators.

For more:
- see this Computerworld article
- read this Financial Times article

Related articles:
Google continues to feel fallout from collecting WiFi payload data
Google admits to collecting WiFi payload data by mistake

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