Mea Culpa

Google Apologizes for Spying

It seems Google is even more Big Brother-like than previously thought. The search engine says it recently discovered that its team of Street View cars, deployed last year to take photos for Google Maps, has been collecting private data—including emails, photographs, and websites. The information was discovered when German regulators inquired about the need to use the cars to collect WiFi data. Alan Eustace, Google’s senior vice president of engineering and research, wrote: “Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short. The engineering team at Google works hard to earn your trust—and we are acutely aware that we failed badly here.” In an effort to regain public trust, the company is asking a third party to review the software as well as the collected data. The problem traces back to 2006, when “an engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast WiFi data,” said Eustace.