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Australia Drops Second Google Investigation 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
joshgnosis writes "The Australian Privacy Commissioner has decided against investigating Google a second time over the collection of Wi-Fi payload data in Google's Street View cars. Despite a damning FCC report released last month claiming that senior manager within Google were aware that a 'rogue' engineer was working on the project on the side, he said a second investigation wouldn't yield any new results. 'I have decided not to open another investigation into Google Street View,' he said in a statement. 'In reaching this decision, I have considered the FCC's report and don't consider that a new investigation would reveal any information that would change our original finding.'"
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Australia Drops Second Google Investigation

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bit embarrassing to be a Skip when our Government panics over something so foolish and useless. 'Google has collected the shape of mailboxes on their cameras, let's investigate this horrific breach of privacy!' Our minister in charge of the digital economy at the time publicly stated he 'still doesn't know how to use his phone'.

    • by wdef (1050680)
      Invasion of privacy - a corporation systematically wardriving and data mining people' networks for years unimpeded - is a very serious matter.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now it's official. Australia doesn't want to take on a company with the power and reach of Google. They'll cower before Facebook as well no doubt. Wimps.

    • by dark grep (766587)

      I don't know why this got modded down. I live in Australia and it's a perfectly accurate observation. +1 informative.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2012 @04:18AM (#40164317)

        Because GP (and you) have missed the part where they've already went after Google's wifi collection and don't think they'll get anything new from that case. Now Google's tax practices, we'll have to see...

      • by wdef (1050680)
        It got modded down because there are some serious astroturfers here, perhaps some even on the payroll of an arm's length "image management" company. For-hire astroturfers have been uncovered on /. before.
  • just tax (Score:1, Funny)

    by crutchy (1949900)
    the aussie government has easier ways to get blood from the google stone... an "Internet Superprofits Tax", followed closely by a "Google Streetview Car Tax"

    while their at it, we might just see a "Windows Tax" soon, along with a "Porn Tax" and a "Slashdot Posting Tax"
  • I mean, what is the point? They were investigating using WIFI networks as a way of providing location services for devices without GPS, so they collected data, either in a "just slurp the lot and we'll analyse it later", or a "keep the raw data, we might find it useful" manner.
    The only question is why, when they realised it contained private information, they didn't just delete it. Instead, they announced that they had inadvertently intercepted private data. Then all these government agencies started to ma

    • RTFS again. There was an ethically questionable engineer at Google who was responsible for collecting and retaining the unnecessary data. If memory serves, he wanted to do statistical analysis on the passwords he was collecting. Eventually, Google fessed up to it, even though they could have just covered it up and no one would ever have known. The only possible question is why his superiors took so long to deal with the problem once they knew about it, and my guess would be that they wanted to give him a ch

      • by wdef (1050680)

        The only possible question is why his superiors took so long to deal with the problem once they knew about it.

        But that is serious enough to warrant an investigation and prosecution. They didn't give a damn. People don't seem to follow that this means there will be NO prosecution for wardriving and unauthorized data mining. It beggars belief that anyone on /. doesn't get how serious that is, especially for a company in the business of profiling users.

        • Uh? They reported it when they could have hid it, with essentially no risk to themselves. Doesn't that count as a damn?
        • People don't seem to follow that this means there will be NO prosecution for wardriving and unauthorized data mining. It beggars belief that anyone on /. doesn't get how serious that is, especially for a company in the business of profiling users.

          What? How could intercepting data transmitted into a public space in the clear be liable to prosecution? And how could that be 'unauthorized data mining'? I have metal in my car keys, and they intercept that data all the time. Mind you, all it does with it is convert it into a couple of microjoules of heat, but my notebook's and phone's wifi hardware goes further.
          I 'get' exactly how serious it is. I have no idea why it ever became the subject for a single slashdot article.

  • Nice while it lasted.
    • by wdef (1050680)
      Agreed, look at the antiprivacy, pro-google nonsense here. People think Google shouldn't be prosecuted for stealing data. Astonishing, the end of privacy is already here and hacker culture is dead on /.
  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:57AM (#40164623)
    Privacy Laws in Australia are a feelgood thing so the public thinks they are protected when they really have no protection at all. Apart from bugging devices, Australia's privacy laws are very weak. The worst thing Google would face out of this would be a letter from the Privacy Commissioner saying 'please don't do that.' That letter isn't worth the paper it is written on.

    Look at these slap on the wrist penalties:

    • An apology
    • A change to the respondent's practices or procedures
    • Staff counselling
    • Taking steps to address the matter, for example providing access to personal information, or amending records
    • Compensation for financial or non-financial loss
    • Other non-financial options, for example a complimentary subscription to a service.
    • http://www.privacy.gov.au/complaints/outcomes

    Don't get excited about the financial compensation. That is only if you have suffered economic loss and the employee who did it doesn't have to pay a cent.

    http://www.caslon.com.au/privacyguide3.htm [caslon.com.au]
    http://www.privacy.gov.au/complaints/outcomes [privacy.gov.au]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_in_Australian_law [wikipedia.org]

  • Sorry :/ some people are fucking stupid and have no idea about technology.

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  • Despite a damning FCC report released last month claiming that senior manager within Google were aware that a 'rogue' engineer was working on the project on the side, he said a second investigation wouldn't yield any new results. [...] "In reaching this decision, I have considered the FCC's report and don't consider that a new investigation would reveal any information that would change our original finding.'"

    So, despite information in the FCC report, he's not doing an investigation because it's already in the FCC's report?

    Sounds to me like he said "oh, the FCC found this, I trust that they did a good job on it so I won't waste everybody's time/money"

  • I call straw man on all this tax talk. The topic is privacy invasion and theft of data.
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