Google Street View 'snooping' to be investigated
Ian Burrell is Assistant Editor and Media Editor at The Independent, i paper and Independent on Sunday. He covers news from the whole media sector from television, press, radio and advertising to technology. His weekly column on the media appears every Monday in The Independent and i paper. He also writes on media, music and culture, including long-form pieces for The Independent’s Saturday magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s magazine, New Review. He is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s What The Papers Say and a specialist commentator to Monocle 24 radio. He has contributed to most major broadcast outlets including BBC television and radio, CNN, Sky News, Al Jazeera and LBC. He has also written on media for GQ magazine. Ian has been reporting on the media industry for The Independent for more than a decade. Previously he was the newspaper’s Home Affairs Editor. He worked at The Sunday Times for five years, including as a member of the investigative Insight team, covering stories on political funding, industrial espionage and the arms industry. Previously he worked in ITV for London Weekend Television, on a weekly current affairs programme presented by Danny Baker. Ian trained at the Birmingham Post & Mail and was Regional Reporter of the Year in Press Gazette’s national awards.
Wednesday 13 June 2012
Google is facing a fresh investigation by the information watchdog after renewed concerns over data collected from cars talking pictures for the company's controversial Street View service.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) had previously been assured that private data had been "mistakenly collected" by the cars as they gathered photographs for Street View. But an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) into the way that Street View was managed in the United States has caused the ICO to reopen its inquiry in Britain. The FCC found that Street View cars in the US had been used to gather a wide range of personal and private data from wi-fi networks. Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, has written to Alan Eustace, senior vice-president at Google, demanding details about what information was collected in the UK and whether it has since been destroyed.
The ICO, which enforces data-protection legislation, said the FCC investigation had found that the Street View data collection in the US had resulted in Google's capture of "complete email messages, email headings, instant messages and their content, logging-in credentials, medical listings and legal infractions, information in relation to online dating and visits to pornographic sites".
The ICO noted that "it therefore seems likely that such information was deliberately captured during [Google Street View] operations conducted in the UK".
Google has said that it is happy to answer the ICO's questions and that it has not acted on the information it collected.
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