“Google’s Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world, a practice that raises novel privacy concerns,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET.

“The cars were supposed to collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points,” McCullagh reports. “But Google also recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly available through Google.com until a few weeks ago.”

“A previous CNET article, published June 15 and triggered by the research of security consultant Ashkan Soltani, was the first to report that Google made these unique hardware IDs–called MAC addresses–publicly available through a Web interface,” McCullagh reports. “Google curbed the practice about a week later.”

McCullagh reports, “Google does not provide any method, sometimes called an opt-out mechanism, that would allow people who don’t want their unique hardware IDs in the database to remove them. Instead of using Street View cars, Google new [sic] ‘crowdsources’ its location database by using Android phones.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

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