We thought we saw the end of it when Google was cleared of wi-fi snooping by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) months ago.
That changed when Alan Eustace, senior VP of engineering and research posted on Google's blog, admitting that emails, URLs and passwords were among the data collected by the Street View vehicles.
In the post, he says: "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."
The ICO had initially said that no significant details were collected but this post changes the situation.
According to the BBC, the admission will trigger some action by the ICO. An ICO spokesperson said: "We will be making enquires to see whether this information relates to the data inadvertently captured in the UK, before deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers."
In May, Google had apologized for its Street View cars inadvertently collecting data from unsecured wireless networks. When it becamse aware of the unintentional data snooping, the Street View vehicles were taken off the roads, and investigations by data protection watchdogs in various countries began. As of July 2010, it resumed its Street View photography in certain countries after removing all data-collection equipment from its cars.
Watch this space for updates on the Google Street View cars wi-fi snooping issue.
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