Hit or miss? Google under fire again over data harvesting by Street View cars

Google is facing fresh investigations into allegations its Street View cars harvested emails, photos and other personal data from WiFi networks as they roamed the streets.

Google: under fire over data harvesting by its Street View cars
Google: under fire over data harvesting by its Street View cars

The tech giant has also faced criticism over its comms since the first investigation in 2010. At that time Google claimed an engineer had acted without the knowledge of senior managers. It has now said a mistake was made and that controls would be tightened.


Chantal Bowman-Boyles, Vice-president, technology, Waggener Edstrom

With every revelation Google appears to be drifting further and further away from its original mantra of 'don't be evil' and it is in danger of causing significant long-term damage to its brand.

Its response ignores the fundamentals of comms - there is no acknowledgement its behaviour is an issue for a large section of its user base, no apology, and no reassurance that it will be providing a fuller response anytime soon.

Google's rapid increase in size and reach means it needs to think differently about how it communicates. Its influence means it will often be under the spotlight. This makes it critical for it to identify new ways of responding rapidly, consistently and transparently if it wishes to be seen as a champion of the ordinary user and not a cynical, profit-driven corporation.


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