Google resumes Street View image collection

Google has announced it has removed all Wi-Fi scanning equipment from vehicles collecting images for its Street View service. The internet firm was...

Google has announced it has removed all Wi-Fi scanning equipment from vehicles collecting images for its Street View service.

The internet firm was forced to admit in May that it had been collecting data from unsecured private wireless networks.

But Google claimed experimental code for Wi-Fi data collection had been included in software for its Street View vehicles by mistake and none of the data had been used.

After consulting local regulators, Google is resuming the collection of photographs and 3D images in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden, said Brian McClendon, vice-president of engineering, Google Geo, in a blog post.

The collection of images in the US remains limited to test runs in the San Francisco Bay area, where Google is headquartered.

Google plans to add more countries in due course, but McClendon pointed out that Google was not the only company collecting images.

"Photos like these are also being taken by TeleAtlas and NavTeq for Bing maps," he said.

Last week, Google issued an apology to Australians after an investigation by the Australian privacy commissioner, Karen Curtis, found the collection of Wi-Fi data in breach of local privacy law.

"We recognise serious mistakes were made in the collection of Wi-Fi payload data, and we have worked to quickly rectify them," wrote McClendon.

The Australian Privacy Act does not allow for punitive measures, but Google could still face charges if the Australian police find it infringed the Telecommunications Interception Act.

Similar investigations are under way in New Zealand, Germany, France and the US.

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