kaled - 6:29 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)
In most western countries (including the US probably) this would be illegal - if a government agency tried it, heads would roll.
This being the case, you have to ask why Google did it - they must have known that it was most-likely illegal. However, given that most wifi connections are encrypted, you have to wonder again, why Google did it - no useful data could result.
Now, if Google had used special software that sent out warning messages telling people to encrypt their wifi connections, that would have been a useful service, but listening in to fragments of conversations is pointless.
If this is ruled illegal (as it should be) then a fine for every breach should follow - say €100. Maybe then, Google will think twice about making stupid mistakes of this sort. To me, this comes down to respect and consideration for other people - commodities that seems to be in short supply at Google.