Google Wi-Fi breach 'inadvertent', say police

The Federal Government had referred the matter to the AFP on 3 June this year

he Australian Federal Police has dropped any case against Google over its high-profile blunder in collecting Wi-Fi data with its Street View cars, noting the data collection may have been “inadvertent” rather than a deliberate privacy breach.

The Federal Government had referred the matter to the AFP on 3 June this year, after the revelation of the data collection in a number of countries made international headlines. At the time, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to the incident as possibly the single greatest breach in the history of privacy in Western democracies.

However Google has since publicly apologised, committed to destroying the data, and cooperated with the Federal Privacy Commissioner on the issue.

In a statement issued late last week, the AFP stated that it had engaged external senior counsel (legal assistance) to assist in the assessment of Google’s action. Advice provided by that party concluded that the incident may have constituted a breach of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. However, the AFP decided not to take the case further.

“Evidence exists to suggest that the potential breach of the TIA by Google was inadvertent,” the agency said in a statement. “Coupled with the difficulty of gathering sufficient evidence required for an examination of potential breaches, the AFP has concluded that it would not be an efficient and effective use of the AFP’s resources to pursue this matter any further.”

“The likelihood of a successful criminal prosecution in this matter is considered to be low.”

The AFP pointed out that law enforcement agencies had made “comparable conclusions” in similar situations internationally — resolving them within their national privacy regimes. And the AFP noted it was satisfied with Google’s undertakings to the Australian Privacy Commissioner.

The agency also made one last point. It recommended users take advantage of the Federal Government’s Stay Smart Online cyber security information site and secure their wireless networks to enhance internet security.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Renai LeMay

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?