Search giant Google is in troubled waters these days and is increasingly becoming the target of scrutiny from companies all over. Well, the bone of contention is none other than the privacy issue, first it was the German Government which barred the search engine giant from giving certain details on its Google Street Service, then it was the announcement by Google that they will no longer be using their Google Street View cars for the collection of data mainly the WiFi Spots and Wireless network locations.
So on Friday Google announced that they are tapering the privacy restraint on its employees in a dedicated effort of ensuring that the employees of the search giant do not intrude and scan the data of people while the search giant is busy collecting massive amount of data about its users world over.
Google has recently promoted its very old employee Alma Whitten to the position of Director of Privacy. Search giant on Friday in a press release said that, they are planning that all of their employees (a massive number of 23,000) should undertake a privacy training that will be planned solely for the purpose of inculcating the importance and value of user’s privacy in the employees of this hi-tech mega company.
Why Tougher Privacy Policies?
According to the press release, the company is also introducing multitude of checks and balances to ensure that the employees and all the workers are strictly obeying the privacy rules that the company has set forth. This Google’s stance of implementing harder privacy controls is a swift response because of the current privacy violations that have lifted concerns, whether the company’s internal control and the internal policies are streamlined or not.
Google Cars WiFi Information Breach
Well, one of the most recent and the conspicuous example of the fact is that the company does not have a good and a firm grasp over the doings of their employees happened in May. The search giant in May acknowledged that that one of its employee a software engineer had developed a certain program that scooped up potentially important personal information like passwords and emails from an unsecured Wireless Network while the company’s state-of the art Google’s car cruised in the places around the globe gathering up the data. The vehicles as per the statements issued by the company were sent to gather and collect photos and images for the online real time mapping service of the Google, but the interesting fact is that the car also carried the equipment and the necessary tools that can also log the location of any particular Wi-Fi network in the vicinity.
A report released this week by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart said that this incident of Wi-Fi locations breech (which some people are labeling as Wi-Spy) was caused by a mere careless error by an Engineer at the company, moreover this was also due to the lack of controls and the policies that should ensure that protection of privacy is the prime task and goal of the company. Several other tech companies and Wi-Fi companies have sort of skewered the search giant Google for scooping huge amounts of data equal to almost 600 GBs (that if put in a physical comparison will equal a six floors of academic library) from the Wireless and Wi-Fi systems for almost more than 2 years before. Detecting the fault almost five months ago, that was in response to a certain inquiry and complaint from the internet regulators in Germany.
Initially Google said that they have only captured small chunks or more suitably said fragments of data and the people’s activities online through that Wi-Spy scam but the Canadian Investigation has revealed that entire passwords, emails and the addresses of the websites have been obtained by the company and stored as well. In sort of a confirmation of the Canadian privacy commission findings, Google on Friday announced that they are planning to delete all the WiFi data scooped up in the process and that is remaining on the company’s computer as quick as possible, but they also said that they must hold on to a major chunk of the information obtained because authorities of different countries are carrying out their own piece of investigation.
WiFi Data Purged till Now
Till now Google has flushed out the data regarding WiFi scam that they obtained in due process from countries like Austria, Ireland, Denmark and Hong Kong after gaining a clear cut clearance from the internet regulators in those particular countries. Google even now has the data from nearly 20 other nations including the US where a team of attorneys belonging to state has been probing into this particular breach.
While some countries and companies have asserted on a strict note that Google’s WiFi probing was totally illegal but the company has maintained its stance that they have not broken any kind of a law although the management of the company has apologized for their sheer negligence and lack of privacy policies.
On Friday, the company’s Head of Engineering Alan Eustace wrote in a Blog post that we at the company are totally mortified by this breach but the management at the company is pretty confident that restructuring of policies and processes will remarkably improve the company’s internal privacy rules following and will also ensure security practices of the employees at the company.
Well, Google’s confidential safeguards were one time again suspicious after a blog post by Gawker commented that an engineer in its Washington Office had been negatively employing its job rights to spy on the online activities of four Minors. So, Google got prompted by that particular report and last month the company approved that they have fired that particular engineer who has been using the privileges illegally.
It is very much evident that the search giant Google which is based in Mountain View California is hoping to become a bigger part of the online lives of the people by introducing new innovative social networking features on its website, so that it can be a tough competitor to the likes of Facebook in the ever increasing and booming field of Social Networking. When the company launched a Social Networking incorporated choice into its open email portal in the month of February, many of the users objected that this specific feature exposes their very identity on the internet.
So let’s see when this privacy trouble bubble will settle down for Google.