Google admits its Street View cars were stealing information
Google has admitted that its Street View camera cars were unintentionally snooping on private wi-fi networks and stealing URLs, emails and passwords while simultaneously photographing the nation's road network.
The internet search giant admitted the indiscretion at the end of an official blog post on Friday afternoon - showing that they are not particularly proud of the news and are quietly trying to bury it.
The breaches were discovered by a series of external regulators that had been investigating the company. The antennas on the cars had jumped from network to network five times a second, but it is now apparent that large amounts of information were collected in that time.
"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," said the official Google blog. "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 information was only taken from networks that don't have a security password, but Google will still be sitting on a vast amount of private information.
Google's director of privacy, Alma Whitten, said: "We are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks.
"As soon as we realised what had happened, we stopped collecting all wi-fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities.
"This data has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way. We want to delete the data as soon as possible and will continue to work with the authorities to determine the best way forward."