Italian prosecutors said Wednesday they've opened an investigation into Google's Street View mapping feature for suspected violation of privacy to determine if the company violated privacy laws when it collected wifi data over unencrypted networks earlier this year.
Several countries have expressed concerns over the Street View program, which provides street-level images on Google Earth and Google Maps. Google admitted that its researchers collected wireless information including entire e-mails, URLs and passwords.
The Rome investigation was made public days after Italy's privacy watchdog asked Google to make sure its data-collecting cars are clearly marked and for the company to keep citizens informed about the vehicles' routes. The watchdog said the information currently made available by Google is insufficient.
Google said a statement that it was "profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted networks in Italy."