Google was forced to pay almost $200,000 in fines for absorbing and recording large amounts of static information through the cars used in their Street View project.
The Street View cars had been absorbing passwords, photos, email addresses, and chat transcripts from unprotected wifi networks across Germany and the world since 2008. But this hadn't been a issue until 2010, when Google first realized that code in the street car network connector automatically recorded data samples it took from any network it attempted to join. Though Google claims to have never used this information, they did store it, prompting a formal German government investigation. Ultimately, the prosecution deemed Google, “negligent” but not “malicious”, resulting in a relatively small fine and a warning instead of the full fine and a storm of privacy suits.
Worried your data will be compromised next? Don’t worry. Google has successfully changed protocols across all of its cars to prevent this from ever happening again. You know, before this problem gets any worse.
Worried they may have your data already? There is a slight chance personal data could have been snatched by a Google car before 2010. However Google cannot use the data because the program is in no way compatible with their analytics tools. (Remember, they had not realized this problem even occurred until 2010, then rebuilt their connector to eliminate the problem).