Privacy International to report Google to police

Privacy International plans to file a formal complaint to the UK police as early as next week over Google’s Street View snooping, according to the Financial Times.

The privacy group believes that the third-party audit that Google published on Wednesday reveals that the downloading of private WiFi data was intentional and thus a beach of UK law. Google has retained its position that the interception was accidental and the fault of one of its engineers abusing his free time.

Privacy International said that Google has violated the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act by intentionally separating out unencrypted content of communications and systematically writing the data to hard drives. “This is equivalent to placing a hard tap and a digital recorder onto a phone wire without consent or authorisation,” it added.

It commented that it ultimately does not matter why Google did it, even if it meant no harm, as letting the search giant off will encourage others to repeat the crime, creating a wider privacy concern.

It is clear that this problem is far from over for Google, but it has been trying to divert attention away from this negative angle with some major updates to its search engine. Previously Google’s search spiders would file a select number of results once a night, often creating long delays before web pages were available in Google’s search index. 

Yesterday, however, it released a large update to its engine called Caffeine, which lets its spiders submit results immediately, updating the index within seconds. This is a pretty significant upgrade that gives Google a further edge on other search engines by providing more up to date content.

Google has not been ignoring the cosmetic side of things, either. It has already changed its layout and logo. Today it launched a new feature for its homepage that allows users to add a background to the page. Google originally gained a lot of popularity due to its plain and simple search page, which loaded quickly due to the lack of images and other things going on there.

Nowadays, however, with computers and internet connections much faster than at the time of Google’s launch, many people want a fancier search page. Some people may even want their Google page to look like Bing.