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Google admits to collecting passwords, e-mails, and URLs. (Credit: CNET Asia) Google collected e-mails, passwords, and URLs while the company was snapping images for its Street View service, it admitted in a blog post today. "In some instances, entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords," Google's senior vice president of engineering and research, Alan Eustace, wrote in a blog post today. However, Eustace was quick to point out that "most of the data is fragmentary," and the company will delete the information "as soon as possible." Google's admission that it collected passwords and e-mails adds further detail to the comments it made back in May when it first announced it had been collecting data from Wi-Fi networks .
The Australian Privacy Foundation is still seeking confirmation that the personal information of local citizens collected by Google Australia through its StreetView cars is being stored in Australia. The organisation says if the personal data - including whole emails, bank account details and passwords - has been moved offshore it should be returned to Australia immediately. But having written to all parties involved last May - Google Australia, the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner, the Attorney General's department and the Australian Federal Police - the APF has yet to be formally told whether the payload data will be kept, or where it is currently stored. Google Australia said as recently as last week at a Senate committee hearing on online privacy that it wanted to delete the payload data as soon as possible.
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Firefox extension Firesheep. Public wireless networks have always been perceived as generally safe. Surely, the odds of having your private details stolen out of thin air must be slim to none? And surely, the ability to steal those details must be restricted to the most knowledgeable and most evil of techies?
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"We screwed up," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in June. "Let's be very clear about that."
By EMILY STEEL And GEOFFREY A. FOWLER Kim White Bloomberg
By STEVE STECKLOW A Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy has found that popular children's websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the top websites aimed at adults. A Wall Street Journal investigation concludes how many tracking technologies are being installed on PC's by children's websites. Julia Angwin and Jen Valentino-DeVries tell Lauren Goode what parents can do to protect their kids' privacy online - and what moves are being made by regulators that would restrict invasive tracking. The Journal examined 50 sites popular with U.S. teens and children to see what tracking tools they installed on a test computer. As a group, the sites placed 4,123 "cookies," "beacons" and other pieces of tracking technology.
We all know, vaguely, that the websites we visit are tracking us with cookies and whatnot, silently scraping data on how and where we surf. But when you see the facts all laid out for you, it's gobsmacking. The Wall Street Journal just published the results of an investigation they did into tracking habits at the Web's top 50 websites, and summed up the results in this superb infographic . Basically, the top half shows the Web's top 50 websites; the bottom half shows the tracking companies whose software can be found on those sites. When you click on one, it shows you the myriad linkages between them.
Last week I gave a presentation at PII 2010 in Seattle where I tried to summarize what I had learned from my recent work on WiFi location services and identity. During the question period an audience member asked me to return to the slide where I recounted how I had first encountered Apple's new location tracking policy: My questioner was clearly a bit irritated with me, Didn't I realize that the “unique device identifier” was just a GUID – a purely random number? It wasn't a MAC address. It was not personally identifying.