European Union justice commissioner Viviane Reding has accused Google of flouting European privacy regulations by harvesting payload data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Reding responded after widespread concerns that Google may be bypassing privacy regulations when its Street View cars collected information from Wi-Fi networks across Europe.
Google had been collecting data for its Maps service, using the MAC addresses to expand its geo-location API service and offer Google Map users limited triangulated location awareness for anyone without GPS.
The search company claimed in a blog post on Friday that its collection of the unsecured payload data was a " mistake".
"We have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password protected) Wi-Fi networks even though we never used that data in any Google products," the post said.
However, Reding said in a statement sent to V3.co.uk that it is " not acceptable that a company operating in the EU does not respect EU rules".
Reding told Google chief executive Eric Schmidt in June 2009 that all companies operating in the EU must abide by its standards of data protection and privacy.
The processing of personal data by Google Street View falls within the scope of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and is subject to its provisions.
Google's activities in the different EU member states related to Street View are subject to the control of national data protection authorities.
The Wi-Fi data collection is being investigated by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and the UK Information Commissioner's Office, which has asked Google to delete the data.
Google said that it is "reaching out" to countries about how to dispose of the remaining data as quickly as possible.
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