Google Says It Inadvertently Collected Personal Data

Posted on May 24, 2010 

Google Says It Inadvertently Collected Personal Data

On Friday, Google made a stunning admission: for over three years, it has inadvertently collected snippets of private information that people send over unencrypted wireless networks.

The admission, made in an official blog post by Alan Eustace, Google’s engineering chief, comes a month after regulators in Europe started asking the search giant pointed questions about Street View, the layer of real-world photographs accessible from Google Maps. Regulators wanted to know what data Google collects as its camera-toting cars methodically troll through cities and neighborhoods, and what Google does with that data.

Two weeks ago, Google tried to address the questions and criticism in a blog post. It admitted to collecting certain kinds of data around the world that identify Wi-Fi networks in order to help improve its mapping products. But the company explicitly said it did not collect or store so-called “payload data” – the actual information being transmitted by users over unprotected networks.

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