US seeks Google Street View engineers as MP claims that the WiFi collection of personal data was the tip of a privacy iceberg

News by Dan Raywood

The Google engineers who wrote the code for its Street View cars which captured personal data are being sought from a coalition of 38 US states.

The Google engineers who wrote the code for its Street View cars which captured personal data are being sought from a coalition of 38 US states.

According to BBC News, Googlel is being pressed to name the engineers from the coalition who are investigating the privacy breach. It also wants to know if Google tested the WiFi code before it was used.

Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, who is heading the coalition, said it is asking Google to identify specific individuals responsible for the snooping code and how Google it was unaware that this allowed the Street View cars to collect data. He claimed that it will take ‘all appropriate steps, including potential legal action if warranted, to obtain complete, comprehensive answers'.

The news follows a report in the Guardian where Rob Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, claimed that parliament is not doing enough to investigate privacy invasion by internet companies.

He said that there is a ‘very dangerous shift' towards a ‘privatised version of Big Brother' if UK authorities do not wake up to the invasion of privacy by internet companies

He said that there are many cases of privacy invasion by internet companies that are yet to be uncovered, and that parliamentarians need to be much more alive to the issue.

He said at a debate: “The problem with Google and other big internet companies is that, despite having produced great technological advances, they have forgotten that people are individuals too. We're getting into a situation where – just as we're starting to get rid of the previous government's surveillance society – we're now replacing it with another one: dare I say it, a privatised kind of surveillance society.

“I suspect there's a lot of privacy encroachment going on which is yet to be uncovered and that these are just a couple of stories we've just seen in the media. The reason I believe there should be an inquiry into the role of the internet and its relationship to individual liberty is because there is so much going on under the surface, tracking what we do on the internet, tracking what we say on the internet, all for commercial purposes.

“There's danger that no-one will have any privacy whatsoever. This time the threat is not from the state, it's actually private companies who have acquired the right to photograph what goes on in people's gardens. That is a very dangerous shift because we will be living, dare I say it, in a privatised version of Big Brother. That's the scenario slowly creeping up upon us.”

David Jevans, CEO at Ironkey, said: “It seems to be the case that privacy has become something people worry about and is raising the public awareness. There is awareness of risk and privacy is a basic human desire.”  


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