Canada has joined Germany, Italy and France in launching investigations into Google’s inadvertent collection of data from unsecured wireless networks. Google collected the data by accident while gathering images for its Street View service. In April, Google said it was collecting only wireless network names and media access control (MAC) addresses, but an audit requested by German authorities proved they were collecting payload data as well. Google acknowledged the issue in May.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also begun an informal investigation. Several countries have asked that Google be barred from destroying any of the data it has collected while they investigate the potential for criminal prosecution. Google has provided all the collected data to a third party company, ISEC Partners, for safekeeping. Google is facing several lawsuits as well.