“Wi-Fi traffic intercepted by Google’s Street View cars included passwords and e-mail, according to the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL),” Peter Sayer reports for IDG News Service.
“CNIL launched an investigation last month into Google’s recording of traffic carried over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, and has begun examining the data Google handed over as part of that investigation,” Sayer reports. “Google revealed on May 14 that the fleet of vehicles it operates to compile panoramic images of city streets for its Google Maps site had inadvertently recorded traffic from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. Google’s intention was only to record the identity and position of Wi-Fi hotspots in order to power a location service it operates, the company said. However, the software it used to record that information went much further, intercepting and storing data packets too.”
Sayer reports, “At the time, Google said it only collected “fragments” of personal Web traffic as it passed by, because its Wi-Fi equipment automatically changes channels five times a second. However, with Wi-Fi networks operating at up to 54M bits per second, it always seemed likely that those one-fifth of a second recordings would contain more than just ‘fragments’ of personal data.”
Full article here.