Google Admits Street View Grabbed Passwords

Posted by at 1:23 pm on October 22, 2010

Google today  in blog post says the  accidental collection of Wi-Fi data with Street View cars collected more than it thought and was triggering a privacy overhaul at the firm.

Senior Engineering and Research VP Alan Eustace admitted  Street View cars  in Europe and elsewhere  captured whole e-mail messages, web addresses and in some cases passwords. Google will delete the information as soon as it’s legally cleared, the executive said.

The collection was reportedly the result of leftover experimental code being included in and running with Street View cars collecting photos. The vehicles had Wi-Fi in a bid to map available access points but hadn’t been intended to snoop actual data. These issues have even caused a halt in Street View cars, which has since resumed, but none of the vehicles now have wireless.

Google is going to address the issues by  conducting  deeper training for engineers on privacy and make a security awareness program mandatory for new hires from December onward. Employees are also going to be required to sign  Google’s Code of Conduct.   Privacy engineering lead Alma Whitten was also being promoted to direct privacy across both engineering and product management.

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