Google in hot water over Street View data

Posted on 03/02/2019 / Posted by admin / Category 深圳桑拿网

After being caught spying on people across Australia and Europe with its wi-fi-slurping Street View cars, Google told angry regulators it would delete the ill-gotten data, but Google has broken its promise.


Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has received a letter from Google in which the company admits it kept a “small portion” of the electronic information collected from the UK and other countries.

“Google apologises for this error,” Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said in the letter, which the ICO published.

The ICO said in a statement that Google Inc, based in Mountain View, California, had agreed to delete all the data nearly two years ago, adding that its failure to do so “is cause for concern”.

Other regulators were less diplomatic, with Ireland’s deputy commissioner for data protection, Gary Davis, calling Google’s failure “clearly unacceptable”.

Davis said his organisation had conveyed its “deep unhappiness” to Google and wants answers by Wednesday.

Google said other countries affected included Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria. Attempts to reach regulators in several of those countries weren’t immediately successful on Friday.

Google angered officials on both sides of the Atlantic in 2010 when it acknowledged that its mapping cars, which carried cameras across the globe to create three-dimensional maps of the world’s streets, had also scooped up passwords and other data being transmitted over unsecured wireless networks. Investigators have since revealed that the intercepted data included private information, including legal, medical and pornographic material.

Google had meant to purge the data, and it chalked up its mistake to human error.

The company said it recently discovered the data while undertaking a comprehensive manual review of Street View disks. The company said it had contacted regulators in all of the countries where it had promised to delete data but realised it had not.

Fleischer’s letter asks Britain’s ICO for instructions on how to proceed.

The ICO, which said it was in touch with other data protection authorities in the EU over the development, told Google that it must turn over the data immediately so it can undergo forensic analysis.

The disclosure Friday comes just over a month after the ICO reopened its investigation into Google’s Street View, saying that an inquiry by authorities in the United States raised new doubts about the disputed program.

In April, the US Federal Communications Commission fined Google, saying the company “deliberately impeded and delayed” its investigation into Street View.

The ICO has the power to impose fines of up to STG500,000 ($A760,000) for the most serious data breaches, although penalties are generally far less severe and can involve injunctions or reprimands.

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