updated 05:45 pm EDT, Fri July 30, 2010
UK's ICO says Google Street View not a risk
The UK's Information Commissioner Office on Friday found that Google's accidental Wi-Fi snooping didn't collect dangerous amounts of information. An investigation of some data saved by Google showed no "significant" levels of data that would compromise privacy or security. ICO still characterized the collection itself as "wrong" but said there was no immediate evidence of broken laws from the data itself.
The results ran against information France claimed to have found in its own first investigation, which allegedly included passwords. Germany and other countries are also investigating the data but haven't provided conclusive information.
Google has always insisted that the information it collected was simply fragments of data and that there wasn't enough for it to breach security, as the Street View cars passed too quickly to ever scrape enough from a single access point to be meaningful. The data was purportedly collected by test code that was accidentally included in a Wi-Fi scanning routine meant only to detect the presences of wireless networks. Protected or hidden Wi-Fi networks weren't affected, and Google has said it's resuming Street View mapping without Wi-Fi as part of the scans.
Street View is considered one of Google's cornerstone mapping features and is what distinguishes Google Maps Navigation on Android as well as Apple's Maps app on iOS hardware. Its information has never provided a layer related to network maps even with the Wi-Fi data it knowingly collected before the more recent discovery.