Google Found In Violation Of Australian Privacy Act

Company states, "We're sorry"

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Google’s indiscretions with regards to WiFi data collection have earned it – for now – three years of close supervision in Australia.  That appears to be about the maximum penalty Australian Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis can impose after determining the company violated a privacy law.

GoogleCurtis said in a statement, "On the information available I am satisfied that any collection of personal information would have breached the Australian Privacy Act."  The catch, she then noted, is that her "role is to work with the organisation to ensure ongoing compliance and best privacy practice," not enforce sanctions.

Still, Google will have to perform (and share) Privacy Impact Assessments whenever it alters its Street View data collection practices.  The company’s supposed to have regular meetings with the Privacy Commissioner about the impact of other product launches, as well.

Curtis even asked Google to post an apology on its official blog to boot.  And that won’t necessarily be the end of things, since other Australian authorities – like the Australian Federal Police – may decide additional consequences would be appropriate.

But for what it’s worth, the message on the Official Google Australia Blog (which was titled "We’re sorry") stated, "We want to reiterate to Australians that this was a mistake for which we are sincerely sorry.  Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do and we have to earn that trust every single day.  We are acutely aware that we failed badly here."

Curtis did acknowledge that Google cooperated with her investigation.

Google Found In Violation Of Australian Privacy Act
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  • http://www.LAokay.com Adsense Publisher

    Maintaining trust?

    You can’t maintain what practically isn’t there.

    People trust Google only as far as that they believe Google won’t sell or give away their personal information to another party. How do you trust a company that is pushing for net neutrality and privacy when it’s CEO says things like “If you’re doing something you don’t want others to know about, you probably shouldn’t be doing it on the internet”. I don’t want people to know my banking information, does that mean I shouldn’t bank online because I don’t want other people to know what I’m doing? So Google is only giving lip service to privacy apparently if they can run around and collect data they didn’t mean to, like off open wi-fi routers.

    They’re aware they failed and that’s their apology? How about finding out before they collect data if it will violate any privacy issues anybody might have? Google has this audacity to just do and correct later. I’m sick of it.

  • Somethings fishy here

    Headline: Consumer Group Sniffs Congresswoman’s Open Wi-Fi

    Update: All parties are glad that’s all they sniffed.

    • Daz

      SNIFFED :) 2

  • Daz

    What Can A Say UK Knows About Australian ! Thats Why We Sent UK Prisoners Over There

    If Thay Cant Grasp The Concept About Living In Land Wifi Would Be Out Of The World To Them ?

    So A Dont Know How Thay Cum To This Given There Loads Of Telecoms Date Law Ect That Is In Conflict With Each Other ….. Must Have Sumthing To Do With There Roter Or Is That Roots

    Your More At Risk Of Going To Atm Petrol Station And Having Your Details Swiped – If People Have Un Secure Wifi Networks Well Only Them To Blame In A Court Of Law Ignorance Is No Defence So When Sum Guy Women A Few Streets Away Comes Across Your Wifi Conection And Locks U Out …. Well Its Only You To Blame

    Its A Shame Govermants Ant Got Anything Better To Investagate Than Trying To Make A Fuss Out Of Nothing

    • http://www.ScrambledNeurons.com Your 2nd grade English teacher.

      Daz, what kind of drugs are you on? Use a spell checker, and learn a little bit of English grammar.
      Every word in a sentence doesn’t have to start with a capital letter, and your post just makes people dismiss you as a blathering idiot.
      If you have something intelligent to say, do so in a way that at least sounds like you have a larger IQ than your pants size. People will respect you and take you seriously if you do.
      A wise man once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

      • Daz

        As Far As Drugs Thing Go’s WHY You Got Sum And How Much :)

        • Katt

          Daz – It’s very apparent you’ve had enough already. When you said, “Trying To Make A Fuss Out Of Nothing” then it becomes very clear that your post wasn’t a joke and you seriously don’t understand what has been going on and what consequences this creates for internet users. Your evident prejudice also says a lot about your character. Do the world a favor, learn more – reply less. Your posts are a waste of pixels.

          • Daz

            But A Wouldent Of Posted It If Could’ent Of Taken It ………. Am Sorry If You Think Prejudice But I Dident Steal There Land Prisoners Did And Refuse To Give The Right Full Land Owners Basic Health Care And Benifits Ect ……. So Dont Even Go There With That One If You Have Any Moral High Ground To Take Use It On That Prisoner Island And Give Them There Land Back Or At Very Least Health Care

  • Guest

    google is getting WAY too big for it’s britches. seriously, can they not keep their nose out of anything?

  • Nick T.

    They said sorry, so that all alright then isn’t it!

    Whats new about this? Google has been pushing the limits of legality in a whole raft of ways for several years now and they think they can do it because they are Google. They continually conduct themselves in such a way because they believe they are above the law. And they do this fearlessly because most of the time the lawmakers and the so-called enforcers either don’t understand what they are doing until it’s too late, or they just don’t understand whats going on period.

    Google totally dominates online search and they exploit their monopoly to the full. We cannot rely on our Governments to control the big G and I basically believe that our only hope is that the wheel will turn the full circle and they will follow in the steps of Yahoo. They will gradually become fatter and lazier and something new will come along and surge past them. Thank goodness!

  • http://www.JigsawADay.com I Wanna Fight

    A Wi-Fi router shouldn’t be open to begin with, unless it’s owner wants it that way, such as at a Starbucks or McDonalds where they offer free Wi-Fi for their customers.
    Besides, anything you want kept private should not be done out in open public areas anyway.
    As for your banking info being private, as long as you insure your bank uses https or secure pages, it’s fairly private anyway. Most, if not all, bank privacy breaches occurred on their inside networks, not their websites.
    Don’t use the web, but have a bank account anyway? Guess what? Your info is stored on a computer network somewhere.
    While I’m not defending Google, I think some common sense should apply here. The odds are, if your Wi-Fi router is open, some hacker has already posted the information in an online hacker forum allready. Hackers routinely drive around looking for open Wi-Fi networks (war driving) and many people with laptops have no problems about jumping into an open network to check their e-mail when they are on the road.
    And no, President Obama had nothing to do with Google looking at open Wi-Fi networks so don’t blame it on him.

  • http://www.theexpertseocompany.com Andrew

    With a company as big as Google, these things are bound to happen but then, being that big you would rationally think that it wouldn’t.

  • http://www.armandaudrey.com Armand Audrey

    What gets me is that they were saying this was on accident.


    You can’t steal Wi-Fi data on accident. Especially not when you’re just trying to take pictures. That’s like breaking into someone’s house and looking into their closet “on accident.” They did that on purpose, they got caught, and now they’re trying to say they didn’t mean to, like any four-year-old would do.

  • John

    Sorry – but don’t feel very warm and fuzzy with the Australian government overseeing google data.

    Just another move to restrict and control internet access for Australians. Not too far behind China hey.

  • Guest

    When Webmasters do something wrong on website knowingly or even unknowingly Google will take them out and crush their business why should the Australian government do anything less for Google


  • http://www.sixthsensemarketing.com.au/ Brad

    3 years supervision in Australia to the worlds most powerful business, gee that is a real slap on the wrist! How will they ever recover from that set back! hahaha

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