Google’s public version of events of how it came to secretly intercept Americans’ data sent on unencrypted Wi-Fi routers over a two-year period doesn’t quite mesh with what the search giant told federal regulators.
And if Google had its way, the public would have never learned the software on Google’s Street View mapping cars was “intended” to collect payload data from open Wi-Fi networks.
A Federal Communications Commission document disclosed Saturday showed for the first time that the software in Google’s Street View mapping cars was “intended” to collect Wi-Fi payload data, and that engineers had even transferred the data to an Oregon Storage facility. Google tried to keep that and other damning aspects of the Street View debacle from public review, the FCC said.
Google accompanied its responses to the FCC inquiry “with a very broad request for confidential treatment of the information it submitted,” the FCC said, in a letter to Google, saying it would remove most of the redaction from the FCC’s public report and other documents surrounding the debacle.
The FCC document unveiled Saturday is an unredacted version of an FCC finding, which was published last month with dozens of lines blacked out. The report said that Google could not be held liable for wiretapping, despite a federal judge holding otherwise.
The unredacted FCC report refers to a Google “design document” written by an engineer who crafted the Street View software to collect so-called payload data, which includes telephone numbers, URLs, passwords, e-mail, text messages, medical records, video and audio files sent over open Wi-Fi networks.
The engineer is referred to as “Engineer Doe” in the report, though he was identified on Sunday as Marius Milner, a well-known figure in the Wi-Fi hacking community.