Google Admits Accidentally Intercepting Users' Private Data With Street View Cars


For the longest time Google had denied that its Street View cars had ever captured data—logins, passwords, and the like—from open Wi-Fi access points. Well, it’s now admitted to doing so, saying that such data was “mistakenly collected.” Google says it’s “mortified.”

A brief recap: Google’s Street View cars rumble along the surface of the planet, taking photos for, yes, Street View. Along the way, it was alleged that Google had, mistakenly or otherwise, collected various bits of private data from open, unsecured Wi-Fi access points. This data was primarily alleged to be things like people’s usernames and passwords. I don’t know why you’d be, say, speaking over unsecured FTP on an open Wi-Fi connection, but there you go.

And as you might expect, Google came under fire from the doom-and-gloom crowd, saying things like, “If they’re stealing this information what other information are they stealing?” I just think Google needs to be a little more cognizant of the fact that, for whatever reason, more than a few people out there think it’s The Bad Guy, so it would do well to behave.

So that’s that.

Google has admitted to accidentally collection private data in the UK, but added that it’s “acutely aware that [it has] failed badly.”

Investigations are ongoing, as you might expect.