The UK privacy watchdog has re-opened its inquiry into Google’s Street View program following the search firm’s admission that it had scooped up entire emails and passwords.
Previously Google had acknowledged that the Street View cars had collected “fragmentary” data from unsecured wireless networks in its sweep of streets in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.
The UK Information Commissioner's Office said it had closely followed international investigations into Street View’s data collection since completing its own probe in July, the BBC reported.
A spokesman said the agency would investigate whether Google’s admission related to data examined in the earlier inquiry or to a different set of data before deciding whether to take action.
The revelation could also deepen probes from other authorities into Street View, which collected 600GB of personal data in four years.
French and German privacy agencies continue to investigate the issue, while more than 30 US state attorneys general have launched a joint inquiry.
Google senior vice president Alan Eustace said Google was “mortified” by the latest discovery.
He admitted no one at the firm had analyzed the Street View data in detail when he commented in May that the data collected did not contain personal information.
Eustace now concedes 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.”