A few days ago Google announced on their blog that the vehicles that they use for street view may have been collecting WiFi data from nearby access points. On the post by Alan Eustace the Senior VP of Engineering and Research at Google apologized for the mistake. Google stated that:
But it’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.
Google was collecting data from WiFi access points to allow for a map of available public access points in an area. The car was moving so fast that if it collected any payload data from the access point it would be fragmented anyways. Google did state:
although the project leaders did not want, and had no intention of using, payload data.
However not the intention to collect this data Google will take a lot of heat for this mistake and will be sure not to make the same mistake in the future.
Source: Press Release