Google says it "mistakenly" intercepted e-mails and passwords

Google has confirmed that its Street View cars “mistakenly collected” unencrypted WiFi payload data while mapping city streets.

“[Although] most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords,” Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research, acknowledged in an official blog post.

“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.”

While Eustace claimed Google was “mortified” by what happened, he emphasized that ongoing changes to security processes would “significantly improve” the company’s internal privacy practices for the benefit of all users.

“We have [also] appointed Alma Whitten as our director of privacy across both engineering and product management.

“Her focus will be to ensure that we build effective privacy controls into our products and internal practices.

“Whitten has been our engineering lead on privacy for the last two years, and we will significantly increase the number of engineers and product managers working with her in this new role.”