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Category: SocialMedia

Google Admits Invading Privacy Through Street Views

Written on October 25, 2010 by R. Depp

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After committing the mistake of acquiring passwords and emails without authorization, Alan Eustace of Google is starting to make things right.

Just last May, was criticized after admitting that accidentally collected private data from users over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Today, Google’s Senior VP of Engineering and Research wrote in his blog that there are still Street View vehicles who have captured individuals’ password and emails.

Here is a portion of the blog post written by Eustace:

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to update one point in my May blog post. When I wrote it, no one inside Google had analyzed in detail the data we had mistakenly collected, so we did not know for sure what the disks contained. Since then a number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). 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. 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. We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.

This move came about after the announcement that Google will be exerting more effort to improve privacy controls. Eustace also welcomed Alma Whitten to take the position as “director of privacy across both engineering and product management.”

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