Google stumbles upon unecrypted Wi-Fi payload data, tightens privacy controls

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Those already paranoid about Google having an eye over everything with Google Earth Live and cloud based storage of data on a PC with the Chrome OS aren’t likely to rest easy after reading this news. Google accidentally gathered unencrypted Wi-Fi payload data or information sent over networks back in May. The company claims to have been working on strengthening privacy controls inside Google over past few months.

The glitch apparently occurred while employing Street View cars, according to the official Google blog. Apparently, no one at Google had minutely examined the data that had been collected inadvertently. External regulatory inspections have revealed that the information captured included fragmentary data, whole e-mails, passwords as well as URLs. Alma Whitten has now been appointed director of privacy across engineering and product management.

Apart from that, Google’s emphasized that their employees get orientation training on the company’s privacy principles and are made to sign a Code of Conduct that has sections on privacy and protection of user data. Come December and the Google workforce will be asked to take up an information security awareness program. A new process requiring engineering project heads to a keep a privacy design document for each project in the pipeline has also been added to the internal compliance procedures.

With the imminent public release of the Chrome OS as a more stable version, it’s clear that Google needs to be extremely watchful of privacy bloopers at this stage.