Canadian privacy watchdogs last week confirmed that Google had stopped collecting wireless data in its Street View cars. The issue was of much debate as the cars were previously sponges for wireless data.
While Google is no longer tapping into wireless signals, the company admitted that the information collected was more detailed that originally thought. Google wrote in a blog post that it had also collected entire emails, URLs, and even passwords that were flying around the Wi-Fi networks.
Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research at Google wrote:
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to update one point in my May blog post. When I wrote it, no one inside Google had analyzed in detail the data we had mistakenly collected, so we did not know for sure what the disks contained. Since then a number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place. We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.This admission could have privacy folks even more skeptical of what happens at Google.
"We work hard at Google to earn your trust, and we’re acutely aware that we failed badly here," Eustace said.