German data regulators have fined Google £125,000 for illegally recording information from unsecured wi-fi networks.
Google said it gathered data from photos, emails and passwords unintentionally, adding that it did not intend to store the information, garnered between 2008 and 2010 while it gathered material for its Street View service.
The data protection agency confirmed the information has since been deleted.
European regulations stipulate that the maximum fine for an accidental violation is 150,000 euros. Data protection supervisor Johannes Caspar is campaigning for that amount to be increased.
A statement from the regulators read: "Among the information gathered in the drive-bys were significant amounts of personal data of varying quality. For example emails, passwords, photos and chat protocols were collected."
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said: "The violations came from the actions of a single individual that were not authorised by the executives.
"Google of course is not perfect. In that particular case we actually disclosed it immediately and there were in fact no privacy violations.
"But it shows how seriously we take privacy and how important privacy is to everybody."
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