Google Street View cars invade mobile and laptop location privacy

Google has gotten itself into a guffor again over privacy concerns raised by its Street View cars, which this time have been found to be collecting the locations of millions of laptops and phones. 

The cars had been recording street addresses and identifiers of devices using Wi-Fi networks, then making them available to the public until very recently. 

The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, the French government body responsible for maintaining data protection, recently conducted an investigation into Google's practices. They found the search giant had indeed been collecting hardware IDs and subsequently fined them 100,000 euros. 

Last time Google got itself into hot water over privacy issues, the company had accidentally taken emails and passwords via its Street View cars. The MAC address farming that took place this time could, as CNET reports, have simply been caused by a coding error. 

Thing is, short of knowing where a specific device was and when, it is not all that bad. Little can be learned about the individual and you would imagine major cities would have at least one smartphone or laptop in nearly every house.