Google has confirmed that it's Street View program has stopped operations in Australia - in the wake of it's Wi-Fi data collection controversy earlier in the year.
Google revealed the news at a Senate inquiry into the practice of protecting the privacy of Australians online - with Google admitting it had indeed "mistakenly" collected data from home networks via it's Street View cars - noting that private emails, web addresses and even passwords were among the data collected.
Iarla Flynn, the head of Google's public policy and government affairs, told the Senate that it's Street View cars driving in Australia and overseas were primarily taking pictures for the service and collecting Wi-Fi information to help with it's location based services. Flynn added "When we discovered the mistake in collection of payload data we stopped all Street View driving and we've not resumed driving here at this time,"
When asked whether the cars were taken off the road, or if Google had simply ceased Wi-Fi collected, Flynn confirmed that the cars were not in action in any form, while adding "When we discovered the mistake in collection of payload data we stopped all Street View driving and we've not resumed driving here at this time,"
The Senate pressed Google representatives about future plans for the Google Street View services - but was met with an uncertain response.
"We would like to [be active again] but there are no plans to resume at this time," Flynn said. "There's no timeline associated with that at this time," Google policy counsel, Ishtar Vij, told the inquiry.
Most surprisingly - Google representatives were uncertain on exactly how many of the Street View cars were operating in Australia at the time of the data collection.