John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

FTC Closes Google Street View Probe

Looks like Google’s “no harm, no foul” explanation for the inadvertent collection of user data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks by its Street View cars was good enough for the Federal Trade Commission. The agency today closed its inquiry into the mapping service, saying the improvements Google has made to its internal privacy practices have alleviated its concerns for consumer safety.

“…We note that Google has recently announced improvements to its internal processes to address some of the concerns raised above, including appointing a director of privacy for engineering and product management; adding core privacy training for key employees; and incorporating a formal privacy review process into the design phases of new initiatives,” David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a letter to Google’s attorney. “The company also publicly stated its intention to delete the inadvertently collected payload data as soon as possible. Further, Google has made assurances to the FTC that the company has not used and will not use any of the payload data collected in any Google product or service, now or in the future. This assurance is critical to mitigate the potential harm to consumers from the collection of payload data. Because of these commitments, we are ending our inquiry into this matter at this time.”

Looks like Google won’t face any fines for the incident in the U.S., though it’s still subject to investigations abroad.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work