Google Engineers On Wifi Data Collection: “Don’t Look At Me”

Denials Over Google Street View via the New York Times reports on some of the Google Street View engineers declarations when it came to the Wifi data collection done by Google’s Street View project.

Reading those declarations you see engineers stating “it was not part of my duties” to review that aspect of the project. You have others saying that they had “no recollection of reviewing the Wi-Fi project design document.” Another engineer said, “I am aware there was a design document prepared for the Wi-Fi collection, but I do not recall reading it.”

Reading the statements, it looks like these engineers are basically saying, don’t look at me when it comes to this part of the project. All we worked on when it came to the Street View project was photographing streets, not the data collection. None go as far as to say they were not aware of wifi collection happening but they do say they didn’t review that aspect of the project, nor did they care to do so as it was not part of their job.

The engineer specifically responsible for writing the code for the data collection did declare that he “specifically told two engineers working on the project, including a senior manager, about collecting payload data.” But this project was done during this employees 20% time and thus a side project that other employees might not be aware of or care about.

A Google spokesperson told the New York Times there was “clearly there was a process breakdown.”

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Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Legal | Google: Maps & Local


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Tad Chef

    The wifi data collection was no accident:
    It’s rather a cover up. I can’t believe Google engineers are so idiotic.

  • Emanuel Rottski

    streetview cars have a wifi-antenna built in. everyone was aware of the data to be collected and also for what it was going to be used for.

    drivers have been told that only the coordinates of wifi networks will be logged, as navigation supporting/enhancing data along with gps data.

    (ex streetview driver)

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