The Wi-Fi traffic collected by Google's world-roving Street View cars included passwords and email, according to a report citing a preliminary study from the French data protection authority."Google said that it only collected "fragments" of data" ..... "at least some (very) personal data was captured intact"
IDG reports that the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) has examined part of the data, after it was turned over by Google. "It's still too early to say what will happen as a result of this investigation," CNIL told IDG.
"However, we can already state that [...] Google did indeed record e-mail access passwords [and] extracts of the content of email messages."
On May 14, contradicting previous assertions, Google said that its Street View cars had spent three years collecting payload data from unsecured W-Fi network across the globe. Previously, the company had said that in scanning open Wi-Fi networks, the cars were collecting only the SSIDs that identified the networks and MAC addresses that identified particular network hardware, including routers. Google uses this data in products that rely on location data, such as Google Maps.
In admitting it intercepted payloads as well, Google said that it only collected "fragments" of data, adding that its cars "are on the move" and that its in-car Wi-Fi equipment automatically changes channels roughly five times a second. But according to the CNIL – an independent authority that oversees the country's data laws – at least some (very) personal data was captured intact.
It seems that Google thought there was nothing wrong with collecting passwords and private conversations. They will have to come up with a better story than that. Google may be many things, but naive it is not.