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"Google says the data collection was legal. But when regulators asked to see what had been collected, Google refused, the report says, saying it might break privacy and wiretapping laws if it shared the material. " - errrrr - wait. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/technology/google-engineer-told-others-of-data-collection-fcc-report-reveals.html?_r=1
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Alan Cox's profile photoJohn Cooper's profile photoMarkus Feilner's profile photo
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So a team of engineers from google creates an app to collect publicly broadcast information. Yes it's a bit questionable what they where going to do with it but my response would be: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
 
Not as daft as it sounds - this sort of thing can occur. If I have a database of material that is genuinely anonymous data to me and someone else wants a copy but has other data sets that would allow them to identify the parties in the database then it becomes personal data to them...
 
+Alan Cox : I hope that you are right.
One of my professors at university defined Geoinformatik (GIS, computer science for spatial analysis, usually done by geographs) as "The science of analysing different datasets, combining legal sources and thereby providing illegal data". :-)

Nevertheless, currently media are bashing google unisono, I hope this is just a hype. Looking forward to Google's statements... :-)
 
+Markus Feilner for some data it's becoming a big problem, and open data initiatives are crashing into a brick wall because of it.

Worse still we are assured by the mathematicians who analyze this stuff that for many types of data it's not fixable.
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