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Friday, January 27, 2023

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Sergey Brin On Google's Wifi Data Collection: "We Screwed Up"

At a press briefing at the Google I/O developers conference today, Google cofounder Sergey Brin didn’t mince words about his company’s accidental collection of wifi data. “We screwed up,” he said.

He was asked about the incident, where last week Google admitted it accidentally gathered data from private wifi networks around the world over the past three years.

“We screwed up, and I’m not making excuses about it,” Brin said.

He went on to say that while Google did have internal controls in place, the mistake “obviously” meant more needed to be done, and that more tools would be put in place.

“Trust is very important to us, and we’re going to do everything we can to preserve it,” he said.

I also caught Brin after the press conference to ask him if he felt, at a time with both Google and Facebook had come under fire for privacy issues, whether some type of greater internet industry effort was necessary to reassure consumers.

Brin was non-committal. He wasn’t against the idea, but I’d characterize his feeling as Google needed to make sure its own house was in order, just as other companies needed to take care of their own issues — and working together might not be as good as it sounds, since the issues each faces could be different.


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