updated 01:45 pm EDT, Wed October 27, 2010
US says Google Street View in clear after promises
The Federal Trade Commission today dropped its investigation into Google Street View's unintentional Wi-Fi snooping. Officials at the US agency said that Google's tougher internal privacy rules combined with a promise from Google were enough to drop complaints. The search firm had persuaded the FTC that it hadn't and wouldn't use any of the sensitive data it had scraped while driving Street View cars, according to a statement.
The FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau director, David Vladek, stipulated only that Google should be more active in communicating what it does about piracy. Google had said it was requiring privacy plans for all its projects and was appointing an overseer for both of its main groups to guarantee privacy was a common concern.
Google is still under scrutiny from South Korea and other countries. The company has insisted that the Wi-Fi scraping was the result of an experimental project being accidentally included in its Street View code and had only been trying to map Wi-Fi hotspots' locations, but officials critics have asked why it didn't think this would be a concern from the start. Street View mapping was temporarily frozen after Google discovered what it had done, and new mapping runs no longer have Wi-Fi access points.