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Google to give Street View data to authorities

600GB of sensitive personal information such as e-mail and bank account numbers collected.

Google will begin handing over the data it collected "by mistake" over unsecured wireless networks to data protection authorities in Germany, Spain, France and Italy within the next two days, its chief executive Eric Schmidt told the Financial Times in an interview on Thursday.

The data protection authorities in these countries had objected to Google's collection of unauthorised information.

Google's Street View cameras had reportedly collected not just photographs of neighbourhoods but about 600GB of sensitive personal information such as e-mail and bank account numbers from people whose personal Wi-Fi networks were left unencrypted.

In the interview, Schmidt admitted that the software code responsible for the data collection had violated Google's rules.