The news just doesn't get any better for Google as it continues to feel the heat from regulators around the world over the interception of private Wi-Fi data by its Street View cars.
The latest? After an inspection of Wi-Fi data amassed by Google's snooping cars, French data protection agency CNIL says that it included passwords for e-mail and other accounts, extracted e-mail messages, as well as medical and banking information.
That's not exactly how Google has been characterizing the information accidentally intercepted by its Street View cars. Incidental data collected by moving vehicles is what Google, which is oh-so-helpfully offering to destroy the data, has been claiming to have. "No harm, no foul," said Eric Schmidt -- always good for a statement that's hard to live down -- just last month.
Last week, Google issued a statement acknowledging that the incident "was a mistake, but we don't believe we did anything illegal." The company says that its "ultimate objective is to delete the data consistent with our legal obligations and in consultation with the appropriate authorities."
That's not likely to happen anytime soon. France, which got its hands on the data earlier this month, beating Germany and Spain to the punch in that regard, is considering prosecuting Google. At this point, a better question is, who isn't?
On Monday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced that he is leading a multistate investigation into Google's Wi-Fi data collection. "Street View cannot mean Complete View -- invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications," said Blumenthal, who expects the probe to include a "significant" number of states.
According to Blumenthal, his office is still waiting for information requested from Google in a May 27 letter, as are officials in Illinois and Massachusetts.
"While we hope Google will continue to cooperate, its response so far raises as many questions as it answers," added the Connecticut attorney general. "The company must provide a complete and comprehensive explanation of how this unauthorized data collection happened, why the information was kept if collection was inadvertent and what action will prevent a recurrence."Considering that Google captured data in 30 countries, Connecticut may have to wait in line for its answers.