Just as it seemed one Google Street View debacle in a foreign country came to a resolution today, another was just beginning thousands of miles away.
The problems first began for Google in Germany in May, when the company's Street View vehicles collected private data that was sent across unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, according to the Christian Science Monitor .
After Germany's data protection authority detected Google's indiscretion regarding the collection of payload data.
"...It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products," the company said in a blog post at the time. "However, we will typically have collected only fragments of payload data because: our cars are on the move; someone would need to be using the network as a car passed by; and our in-car WiFi equipment automatically changes channels roughly five times a second. In addition, we did not collect information traveling over secure, password-protected WiFi networks."
The company chalked up the error to a mistake that stemmed from code written in 2006 for an experimental WiFi project.
Today Google announced it had come to an agreement with Germany. The company will accept requests from homeowners who would like their homes removed from the program. Google will also automatically blur faces and license plates.
"The engineering team at Google works hard to earn your trust—and we are acutely aware that we failed badly here. We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake," wrote Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research in the blog post from earlier this year.
That failure though continues to haunt the company as they expand Street View around the world.
It was likely the original privacy issue that came up earlier this year in May that caused South Korean police to seize computers at Google's Seoul office today. The authorities there are investigating if Google stole private data.
One official told the Korea Times that authorities were concerned Google had collected the personal data of people communicating over unsecured wireless networks.