Australia’s Communications Minister Slams Google’s Privacy Policy

by Ferman Aziz

Stephen Conroy, the Australian minister for communications, has called Google’s privacy policy “a bit creepy” while also severely criticising the social networking giant Facebook and its creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Stephen Conroy went on to claim that Google had committed the “single greatest breach in the history of privacy” by collecting private wireless data while taking pictures for its “Street View” mapping service, and dismissed claims it was an accident.

Google on the other hand has apologised claiming the entire incident was a mistake and that all the Wifi data collected from private households has been deleted.

In 2006 an engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast WiFi data. A year later, when our mobile team started a project to collect basic WiFi network data like SSID information and MAC addresses using Google’s Street View cars, they included that code in their software—although the project leaders did not want, and had no intention of using, payload data.

Google wrote in a blog post.

Conroy would hear nothing of it and minced no words in a Senate Committee hearing late Monday saying “It was actually quite deliberate… The computer program that collected it was designed to collect this information,”

The Aussie minister also slammed Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for what he called a “complete disregard” for users’ privacy, describing it as a “corporate giant who is answerable to no one and motivated solely by profit”.

Zuckerberg, after breaking up with his girlfriend, developed a website of all the photos from his yearbook so he and his mates could rank the girls according to their looks. An auspicious start for Facebook.

Conroy said of the social site’s origins.

When Greens Senator Scott Ludlam accused the communications minister of a “corporate character assassination” of Google, Conroy replied he was just “describing their own words and actions”.

[via Mashable]

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