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Google Admits Scooping Passwords, Emails In Street View Privacy Breach

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Google came under fire in May of this year after it admitted that its Street View cars had mistakenly collected users' private data sent over non-password-protected Wi-Fi networks (Read more).

In a blog post by Google's Senior VP of Engineering and Research Alan Eustace, the company offered a closer look at the information that was collected via its Street View vehicles and revealed that individuals' passwords and emails, among other information, had been captured.

Eustace 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.

(Emphasis added)

The admission came together with the announcement that Google is taking steps to improve privacy controls within the company. Eustace explained the company has hired Alma Whitten to serve as "director of privacy across both engineering and product management," will ask employees to undergo privacy training, and tighten its compliance system. (Read more)

Around the Web

Google's 600 Gigabyte Privacy Fiasco, by the Numbers | Fast Company

Google balances privacy, reach - CNET News

Google to Simplify Its Privacy Policies - NYTimes.com

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