The invasion of privacy suits against Google Inc. over its WiFi snooping got a big boost on Friday when the company admitted that in some cases it had "mistakenly" captured entire e-mails, e-mail addresses, and passwords.
The company said it was "mortified."
Also see: Complaint Against Google (pdf)
The admission came at the bottom of a blog by Google's Alan Eustace, senior vice president for engineering and research.
The company and its lawyers at Perkins Coie have declined comment. Previously Google had said it believed only "fragments" of data had been captured.
But Friday Eustace wrote, "It's clear from [various] 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."
Most of the Eustace blog is devoted to the company's new and stronger privacy controls to avoid such incidents in the future.
Eustace said Google named a new director of privacy, is instituting new training procedures, and is expanding its compliance efforts with more processes and more employees.
Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., has maintained since last May that the collection of WiFi data of unknowing computer users around the world was inadvertent. It apologized then and said it did nothing illegal.
The data was gathered by Google's Street View cars, which travel streets around the globe taking pictures and collecting information for online maps.
On Friday, Eustace apologized again "for the fact that we collected it in the first place." He added, "We are mortified."
Did Google Mean to Scoop Up Private WiFi Data From Consumers? (from Corporate Counsel)
Google Sued for Scooping Up WiFi Data (from The Recorder)
Searching for Answers: Google GC Grilled on Secrecy in Court Battles (from Corporate Counsel)
E-mails Blast 'Google Bastards': Viacom's War With YouTube Gets Uglier (from The American Lawyer)