Google Street View Cars Back On The Road

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The Street View cars are back – without any Wi-Fi equipment, says Google

Google has announced that its Street View cars are back in action for the first time following the revelation that they snooped private Wi-Fi data. This time, they will not be collecting any Wi-Fi information.

The cars tour the world taking photos to be used in the Street View add-on to Googles Maps service, but they have been off the road since May when Google admitted the cars stored unencrypted data from Wi-Fi networks as they passed in the line of duty. The so-called “WiSpy” incident caused outrage form governments and privacy advocates.

Cars were grounded

Google Street View Car
Google Street View Car

When Google realised there was a problem it halted the cars separated the data and disconnected it from the network, and has agreed to surrender the data it gathered to European authorities and US officials. A Scotland Yard investigation is pending, and countries such as Germany, France and Spain have launched investigations. In the US, a Congressional oversight committee has asked Google to explain how the data was collected, even if unintended.

“We have decided to start Street View driving in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden again starting next week,” Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Geo, said in a blog. “We expect to add more countries in time.”

“The WiFi data collection equipment has been removed from our cars in each country,” said McClendon. The cars will now only collect photos and 3D building imagery collected using low power lasers,he said.