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Published: Friday, 10/22/2010

Google admits Street View cars snagged e-mails


SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. said its "Street View" cars accidentally collected more personal data than it earlier disclosed, and said it was changing its privacy practices.

Google's cars crisscrossed the globe taking panoramic pictures of city streets and collected the data. The company displays the pictures in its online street maps.

Google disclosed the error in May, but said at the time the information it collected was typically limited to "fragments."

"It's clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords," Google Vice President of Engineering and Research Alan Eustace said Friday.

Google said it appointed Alma Whitten as director of privacy for engineering and product management and was enhancing its privacy training for engineers.

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