Google have repeatedly demonstrated some sketchy regard for privacy of others.
Google recorded open, unencrypted WiFi packets. Tons of tools do that. It's not an invasion of privacy.
However officially Google now admit to collecting snippets of payload data which is something they expressly ruled out in the original blog. They say this was a mistake...I have my doubts.
No, it wasn't a mistake, in the sense that the programmer who did it probably didn't think twice about it. Why wouldn't you record open, unencrypted WLAN packets?
I think there is a real difference between data that is public to your neighbors and then someone posting that data on a billboard in the the main street.
Google didn't post the packets that they collected. Even if they had, so what?
Clearly here is an example of data that is not private, in the public domain but is not intended to be distributed to strangers.
If our assumption becomes that data is private unless explicitly marked as public, democracy becomes impossible, because any scoundrel can evade public scrutiny by declaring their behavior to be private.
Privacy is pretty simple: if you don't want people to see what you're doing, don't do it in a public place.
and ensuring my network is buttoned up even tighter the ever.
You're a jerk for implying that Google has been trying to break into anybody's network. In fact, all you need to do as far as Google or anybody else is concerned is to indicate that your network is intended to be private. A minimum level of encryption is sufficient to do that. If you don't encrypt, don't complain if people listen.