Google Hands Over “Rogue Data” to Euro Authorities, Apologizes Again

Google said yesterday that it will comply with European rulings and hand over the data it snagged from private, unsecured wireless networks.



When Google was found to have collected data from scores of private (though unsecured) wireless networks in its efforts to map the world, the company immediately apologized with strong words. “We screwed up,” said CEO Eric Schmidt. “Let’s be very clear about that.”

Schmidt is continuing to apologize, and the company, after a battle with Germany over the legality of handing over these documents, has pledged to do just that.

The company will also publish the results of an external audit into the practice, in which cars photographing streets for Google’s Street View service ended up also collecting snippets of personal information from unsecured WiFi networks.


Mr Schmidt also said the company would conduct an internal review into all its privacy practices, checking all of the codes related to collecting data. It will reveal the results of this within the next month.

There is also an internal investigation being conducted against the male software engineer responsible for the rogue code, which was in “clear violation” of Google’s rules.

Germany is the only country considering a criminal investigation, but Google pledged to hand documents over to France and Spain as well.

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About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law