U.K. investigates Google’s potential breach of privacy

Stephen Beard Oct 25, 2010
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U.K. investigates Google’s potential breach of privacy

Stephen Beard Oct 25, 2010
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: To the U.K. now where Google is in trouble for what could be a major breach of privacy. The California-based search engine has admitted it intercepted tens of thousands of private emails from around Britain. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard joins us now live from London with more on this story.

Good morning.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello, Jeremy.

HOBSON: So tell us what happened here?

BEARD: The breached occurred through Google’s street view service, which shows photographs of street views and individual properties in a number of countries around the world. Now it emerged back in May that when street view mapping cars were driving around taking photos they were also intercepting Wi-Fi communications between individual households and the Internet. The company said at the time they were just trying to map Wi-Fi hot spots and didn’t realize they were also — as a result of the over-zealous engineering — collecting and storing personal emails and even passwords. Now Google this weekend admitted far more information of this kind has been gathered and stored than previously thought.

HOBSON: And Stephen, I imagine people aren’t too happy about this?

BEARD: No, this has caused a major ruckus in half a dozen countries. There are criminal investigations under way in German & Canada. Initially, in the U.K., the data protection authorities here said “It’s not a big deal.” Now after Google’s admission they’re taking another look and there’s a major parliamentary debate on the issue here on Thursday. Google, it seems, are going to take quite a bit of heat.

HOBSON: Okay, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London. Thanks, Stephen.

BEARD: OK Jeremy.

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