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FCC: Google staff knew of Street View data breach

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The Google engineer behind the collection of wireless data by Street View cars told at least two colleagues – including a senior manager – about the controversial plans before it was released, a US regulator has found.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a report that the Google engineer told colleagues in 2007 that his Street View programme could collect private information including emails and text messages.

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In a report published by Google on Sunday, the FCC said that five engineers were involved in implementing the Street View code but did not realise it could collect so-called payload data.

The engineer specifically told two colleagues, including a senior manager, that it was designed to collect this information in 2007 and again in 2008.

Google has faced criticism from regulators around the world for collecting private information from unsecured wireless networks via its Street View mapping cars between May 2007 and May 2010.

The company admitted publicly in May 2010 that it had collected the data, which the FCC said was not a breach of US laws.

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A spokesman for Google said: “We decided to voluntarily make the entire document available except for the names of individuals. While we disagree with some of the statements made in the document, we agree with the FCC’s conclusion that we did not break the law. We hope that we can now put this matter behind us.”

Google was fined $25,000 (£15,300) earlier this month after the FCC said the company had impeded its investigation into the affair.

The FCC said in the report that for months last year Google wilfully and repeatedly obstructed its investigation by withholding certain documents.

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Google’s supervision of the controversial programme was described by the FCC as minimal and it had not been reviewed by internal privacy lawyers despite a recommendation from “Engineer Doe” as early as October 2006.

One senior manager at Google pre-approved the engineer’s plans, the FCC said, while two colleagues were specifically told that Street View could collect sensitive information such as passwords, emails and internet browsing history.

“For more than two years, Google’s Street View cars collected names, addresses, telephone numbers, URLs, passwords, email, text messages, medical records, video and audio files, and other information from internet users in the United States,” the report said.

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Google was found to have collected similar data from users in the UK, Netherlands, France and other countries where its Street View cars operated.

The FCC said that the engineer intended to collect and store the data for possible use in other Google projects. On at least one occasion, the engineer reviewed payload data to identify frequently visited websites, according to the report.

“The record also shows that Google’s supervision of the Wi-Fi data collection project was minimal … indeed, it appears that no one at the company carefully reviewed the substance of Engineer Doe’s software code or the design document.”

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Google has apologised for the collection and last year said it would beef up its internal privacy policies as a response to the failure.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Street view via ppl / Shutterstock]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump told his administration to check if he can stop hurricanes with a nuclear bomb

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President Donald Trump's lack of knowledge about science prompted another embarrassing moment when the U.S. president said that we should simply "nuke hurricanes" to solve the problem.

Another hurricane is headed toward Puerto Rico this week. The island is still recovering from being hit twice in 2017. Trump's solution, however, wasn't entirely thought out, however, Axios reported Sunday.

"I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" Trump said during a hurricane briefing at the White House, sources said. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane, and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"

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Trump allies acquiring ‘dirt’ on journalists to take them down during the 2020 election

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President Donald Trump's war against the media has taken a next step. According to The New York Times, Trump's allies have been compiling information on reporters at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times to strike back because the president believes they "aggressively investigated" him.

The information was revealed Sunday using information disclosed by associates of conservative Arthur Schwartz, who is spearheading the project. Schwartz is an adviser to Donald Trump Jr. and previously worked with Steve Bannon.

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Iran Foreign Minister Zarif perfectly Twitter-trolls Trump with photos of meeting with smiling Macron at G7

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Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used Donald Trump's favorite social media platform to get in a dig at the president and rub his nose in the fact that French President Emmanuel took time out from the busy G7 meeting he is hosting to sit down with him.

The White House was reportedly blindsided by Macron's invitation that had been kept a secret from Trump and now, if Trump wanted proof of the meeting, he need only hop on Twitter to see the evidence.

As Zarif wrote, "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Met @EmmanuelMacron on sidelines of #G7Biarritz after extensive talks with @JY_LeDria & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."

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