Google Inc said its fleet of cars responsible for photographing streets around the world have for several years accidentally collected personal information that consumers send over wireless networks.
The company said on Friday that it is currently in touch with regulators in several countries, including the United States, Germany, France, Brazil and Hong Kong, about how to dispose of the data, which Google said it never used.
It's now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, Google Senior VP of Engineering and Research Alan Eustace said in a post on Google's official blog on Friday.
As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible, Eustace said.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)