Google Gets New Scolding on Privacy Breach

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Google's all seeing eye may be in hot water in Italy.

    The German consumer protection minister is strongly criticizing Google after the Mountain View internet giant acknowledged a privacy breach.   

    Ilse Aigner's ministry said in a statement Saturday the recent "alarming incident" shows that Google still lacks an understanding of the need for privacy.

    The statement said "sccording to the information available to us so far, Google has for years penetrated private networks, apparently illegally."

    Google Inc. issued an apology Friday, acknowledging it has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks while expanding a mapping feature called "Street View."

    Here's what has Germany upset:

    Google has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years, a clear breach of Web etiquette.    

    Even Google was troubled by its behavior, and issued a public apology Friday. The company said it only recently discovered the problem in response to an inquiry from German regulators.

    "Maintaining people's trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short," Alan Eustace, Google's top engineering executive, wrote in a blog post.