Reuters informs us that Google has been collecting personal information for years now, with the aid of its Street View camera-packing cars. Apparently, this was done by mistake, because of wireless networks without password protection.


This announcement was made yesterday and the collection of data took place in countries like the US, France, Brazil, Germany and Hong Kong. The search engine giant is looking at disposing of the data right now. Google didn’t say what kind of data was collected, but security experts claim that it might be email content and passwords, plus web surfing activity.

That’s quite a lot of personal information, all collected through a project that used the Street View cars in order to gather data on WiFi hotspots to provide location-based services. The reason for accidental collection of data was the inclusion of a code from a separate experimental project.

It remains to be seen what Google will use the data for, but right now they claim that it wasn’t even checked.

[via Reuters]

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