In an interview with the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said an employee snuck some code into the Streetview computers causing them to collect information.
The case has been making headlines across the world and has Google in courts from Oregon to Germany. But, was it caused by one employee? (Working on his 20% time?) According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, that employee is now the subject of an internal investigation.
In the first case, an engineer, who is now the subject of an internal investigation at the company, inserted a vital piece of code into Street View software systems “in clear violation” of operating procedures but undetected by colleagues.
I haven't really taken an interest in this case because I don't believe the information that Google would have received to be that damaging, at least if it was used by Google in the same way it uses search data. Google says it did nothing with the data.
Google is accused of (at worst) pulling extremely brief snippets of information from open routers as the streetview cars sped by.
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Google has had other high profile run-ins with government agencies lately with an Italian court sentencing three Google execs to jailtime because some children uploaded some footage of bullying to Youtube. That is on appeal.
Google's recent botched Buzz rollout also had privacy watchdogs upset because of the relationships it revealled.