|Maybe Google is a giant Pacman trying to devour all the data it can.|
The secret Street View data collection led to inquiries in at least a dozen countries, including four in the United States alone. But Google has yet to give a complete explanation of why the data was collected and who at the company knew about it.
No regulator in the United States has ever seen the information that Google’s cars gathered from American citizens.
Michael Copps, who last year ended a 10-year term as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, said regulators were overwhelmed. “The industry has gotten more powerful, the technology has gotten more pervasive and it’s getting to the point where we can’t do too much about it,” he said.
When German regulators forced the company to admit that the cars were sweeping up unencrypted Internet data from wireless networks, the company blamed a programming mistake where an engineer’s experimental software was accidentally included in Street View. It stressed that the data was never intended for any Google products.
The F.C.C. did not see it Google’s way, saying last month the engineer “intended to collect, store and review” the data “for possible use in other Google products.” It also said the engineer shared his software code and a “design document” with other members of the Street View team.