Street View Cars Also Record Address of Phones and PCs

July 25th, 2011

Remember when Google’s Street View cars collected WiFi access point data? Well it turns out Google also collected the physical location–an actual address, not just IP addresses–for countless mobile phones and PCs, and until a few weeks ago, stored this information on the web. Declan McCullagh has the scoop:

Google’s Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world, a practice that raises novel privacy concerns, CNET has confirmed.

The cars were supposed to collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points. But Google also recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly available through until a few weeks ago.