Google inside buildingSlowly but surely, cases against Google over WiFi snooping are gathering pace. The UK police on Tuesday officially began to investigate the search company for criminal interception of wireless content, following a complaint by Privacy International, the pressure group.

Getting the police to take up the case was not easy, said Simon Davies of Privacy International. There were nearly two weeks of deliberations as to exactly how to proceed and which police body would handle it.  This is not surprising. The UK has long struggled to pursue any internet-related criminal cases, and only recently re-established any sort of centralised e-crime reporting body. A muddle of regional police forces have occasionally struggled to track even the more mundane phishing scams, much less accusations against a rich and powerful international internet company.

Still, the case now has an official crime reference number:  2318672/10, and a certain due process of gathering evidence must begin. Read more


Privacy activists have had a busy few weeks. First there was Google’s announcement that it would start using behavioural targeting for its display advertising, which had them up in arms. The following week Google launched Street View, the controversial 3D mapping feature, in the UK, again drawing protest. The latest concern is over revelations that the UKgovernment is thinking of monitoring social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo as part of its anti-terrorism measures.


There is already an EU directive on monitoring emails and internet usage, requiring internet service providers to store traffic data for 12 months. Since the July 2005 the UK government has been keen to broaden the scope of the ways it can monitor for terrorists. This latest proposal is to extend this to social networking sites, which have become hugely popular after the proposals were first formulated.

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