While Google's Street View team were jaunting around the planet's twisting laneways and sprawling freeways, they were also war-driving, according to this New Scientist article.
Wi-Fi antennas on the cars were hunting down wireless computer networks, and equipment inside was recording the networks' names, locations and the unique MAC address of the routers supporting them.Dude! Creepy! Apparently the search giant uses the data to help GPS-enabled smartphones more smart.
According to Peter Schaar, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection in Germany, he was not told that the Street View cars would be obtaining wi-fi information as they took photographs for Google Maps.
Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, says they didn't ask permission first because wi-fi details are publicly available, and Google won't be making the information public.
He admits, however, that it might have been a good idea to ask for permission first.
image credits: boetter and Titanas