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France has become the latest country to investigate potential wrongdoing on the part of Google Street View, the hyper-local image service. The cars used to carry cameras to gather images for Street View did indeed capture passwords from private individuals' WiFi transmissions over unencrypted networks, found the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty. The French agency is continuing its investigation to determine whether Google was responsible for "unfair and unlawful collection of data" and "invasion of privacy and individual liberties."
Google collected data as they roamed streets in order to provide a more robust user experience for their 'Maps' product. And? Every wireless router I've ever purchased contained documentation regarding security of the newly-installed wireless network. Further, blaming Google for simply harvesting data as their 'Maps' contributors drove down the street is the same as blaming someone for being a Peeping Tom because they drove by and looked into a window and saw a couple having sex. As long as the Google drivers didn't enter private property, it is the person using the wireless network's responsibility to secure it.
Americans LOVE to play the 'blame game' - it seems like no one is willing to take responsibility for their own careless actions. What heinous crime did Google commit with all of this data they gathered? Did they sell credit card numbers? Did they post family pictures (or private videos) on web sites in order to embarrass, humiliate, or profit from someone's carelessness and failure to follow instructions?
Attempting to link this to wiretapping is ludicrous. If I'm in my home and there is an open broadband signal, my position is that it's mine to use - how do I know that it wasn't put there as a service by someone in my community? Trying to crack a password is another matter, but simply jumping on an open connection should not be a crime.
Just my opinion - that and $4 will get you a coffee at Starbuck's.