We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Google Street View Cars hit the UK again

Vehicles reinstated following Wi-Fi debacle

Google has re-instated its Street View cars in the UK.

The search-engine suspended the cars, which travel round the country taking photographs for use in the Google Maps add-on Street View, in May after the German data protection authority discovered Google had accidentally collected data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

As well as collecting SSID information (the network's name) and MAC addresses (the number given to Wi-Fi devices such as a router), Google had also been collecting payload data such as emails or web page content being viewed.

Google said the error occurred after a piece of code written in 2006 was included in the software used by its Street View cars.

Privacy campaigners criticised the search engine and complained to the Metropolitan Police, which resulted in an investigation by the Met into the incident.

The ICO also probed the search engine's activity but revealed last month it had cleared Google of any wrongdoing as the data did not include "any meaningful personal details".

At the beginning of July, the Street View cars were re-instated initially in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden.

"As soon as we discovered our error, we not only stopped collecting Wi-Fi data entirely, but also grounded our fleet of cars globally to give us time to remove the Wi-Fi scanning equipment and discuss what had happened with local regulators," Google said in a blog.

"We have decided to start Street View driving again. Our cars will no longer collect any Wi-Fi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3D imagery as they did before."

A list of areas the Google Street View Cars will be photographing can be found on Google's dedicated web page.

See also: Google pushed to name names over Wi-Fi data collection

IDG UK Sites

Galaxy S6 UK release date, price, specs: When is the Samsung Galaxy S6 coming out? Galaxy S6 launch6......

IDG UK Sites

5 things we hate about MWC: What it's like to be a journalist at a technology trade show

IDG UK Sites

Interview: Lauren Currie aims to help design students bridge skills gap

IDG UK Sites

12in Retina MacBook Air release date rumours: new MacBook Air to have fingerprint ID, could launch...