Simon-, on 30 April 2012 - 09:50, said:
I don't think that the engineers realised the privacy implications with the raw dataset at the time. To them all they saw was a lump of raw data which they would have access to when they drive by anyway, without realising that there is sensitive information that is transmitted unencrypted (To a computer science engineer, their natural instinct is that all sensitive information would be encrypted if it truly was sensitive, even if this is not the reality in this imperfect world). To them it was just the data acquisition phase for them to work out which useful data they need later. They are right to have concerns about sharing it, because when they acquired it they did not see any malicious uses but when it was later realised that it could be used maliciously, they wanted to do the right thing which is to destroy it and not give it to interested parties who may have an interest in using it for malicious purposes. From the perspective of a computer engineer who can see how this could have easily happened when left to a bunch of engineers (I imagine that the idea went along the lines of "lets just run kismet and see what we can get for our maps" not "lets run kismet and see what private information we can steal so we can run some identity theft on the side"), I fail to see the evil.
Just give up, no matter how rational and competent reason you have, even the correct one will matter, this is just more fodder for the set of morons that hate Google and everything they do, and we will of course be called fanboys for not hating