Over the weekend, Google released an updated version of a previously heavily redacted Federal Communication Commission (FCC) document that now reveals startling details about the company's Street View project.
The new information indicates that, contrary to what the company had maintained, there were several employees and at least one senior manager who knew of the data gathering occurring within the Street View project.
The passages make frequent reference to an unnamed programmer, dubbed "Engineer Doe," who was intimately involved in developing the data collection tool for Street View. The document states that, in response to the FCC's letter of inquiry (LOI), "Google made clear for the first time that Engineer Doe's software was deliberately written to capture payload data." And, according to the document, the engineer's software tool "would collect payload data that Engineer Doe thought might prove useful for other Google services."
Based on previous reports, these facts aren't much of a revelation. However, the real meat of the document lies in its detailing of who knew what and when regarding Street View data collection. On page 15 of the 25-page document, the FCC says that "As early as 2007 and 2008, Street View team members had wide access to Engineer Doe's Wi-Fi data collection document and code, which revealed his plan to collect payload data... Engineer Doe specifically told two engineers working on the project, including a senior manager, about collecting payload data. Nevertheless, managers of the Street View project and other Google employees who worked on Street View have uniformly asserted in declarations and interviews that they did not learn the Street View cars were collecting payload data until April or May 2010."