Google has announced it will resume capturing images for its Street View service next week, after a scandal which saw private data accidentally captured by rogue code and left the search giant red-faced as privacy advocates pounced.
The company is still facing backlash across the globe for the privacy breach, which saw Google unwittingly collect a small sample of private data from a number of un-protected WiFi networks. According to Google, rogue code that an "engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote" somehow managed to find its way into WiFi scanning equipment that was used by Google to capture data such as SSID information and MAC addresses.
A public apology was posted today on the Google Australia blog as the local privacy commissioner announced the closure an investigation into the incident, while Irish, Danish and Austrian government officials have already given Google permission to delete the data. Google says negotiations are still continuing between in other affected countries about the best way to delete the collected data.
But now that the company has removed all WiFi scanning equipment from the Street View cars, and a review into the incident by security consulting firm Stroz Friedberg is complete and has been sent to all affected countries, Google says it's time for the cars to hit the road again, after being grounded immediately when the problem was first discovered.
The specially modified cars will be on the streets again in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden from Monday next week, capturing photos for Google's popular Street View service which allows users to view detailed and interactive images of streets around the world on Google Maps. The cars will also be capturing 3-D building imagery, which Google says will help improve the accuracy of building positions for Google's geo products, including Maps and Google Earth.