Google Data-Collection Probe Dropped by FTC Regulators

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A Federal Trade Commission probe into Google Inc.'s (GOOG) practices related to data collection from its Street View cars has been dropped after the world's largest search-engine operator said it made changes to avoid collecting and keeping data that may violate consumer privacy.

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The FTC dropped the probe because of Google's efforts to prevent the collection of inadvertent data, a process which included hiring a director of privacy for engineering and product management, and enacting practices to delete unnecessary information collected from its Street View cars, the regulator said in a letter Wednesday.

Google, which in 2007 installed software in its Street View cars to collect consumers' wireless-data access points to enhance its location-based features, was found earlier this year to have inadvertently collected additional information transmitted over unsecured wireless networks, according to the FTC.

Google, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, last week apologized on its website for collecting the unencrypted data. Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president for engineering and research, wrote in an Oct. 22 blog post that the company was "mortified" by the activity and pledged to enact stronger privacy controls.

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