Google agrees to delete private data gathered by Street View cars
Saturday 20 November 2010
Google has agreed to delete all the personal data its Street View cars collected from unsecured wireless networks and will introduce new training and guidance for its staff, the Information Commissioner said yesterday.
Christopher Graham said the search company intended to introduce improved training measures on security awareness and data-protection issues for all its employees. It will also require its engineers to maintain a privacy design document for every new project before it is launched.
Mr Graham said: "I am very pleased to have a firm commitment from Google to work with my office to improve its handling of personal information. We don't want another breach like the collection of payload data by Google Street View vehicles to occur.
"It is a significant achievement to have an undertaking from a major multinational corporation like Google Inc that extends to its global policies and not just its UK activities. We will be keeping a close watch on the progress Google makes and will follow up with an extensive audit. Meanwhile, I welcome the fact that the wifi payload data that should never have been collected in the first place can, at last, be deleted."
Mr Graham's deputy, David Smith, told the BBC there was no indication that any of the information collected by the vehicles "had fallen into the wrong hands" and that there would be no further enquiries into the matter.
He said there were no grounds for fining the company, adding: "We'd have had to find that there was substantial damage or distress to individuals from the collection of snippets of emails, URLs and passwords."
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it will conduct a full audit of Google's internal privacy structure, privacy-training programmes and its system of privacy reviews for new products within nine months.
The company had sparked an international outcry over claims that it was spying on people with its Street View mapping cars and technology. It was accused of unlawfully harvesting data including emails, passwords and website addresses during the creation of the popular product.
It led to dozens of enquiries across the world, with some countries offering detailed findings about the nature of the breaches. An investigation in Canada found that the Street View cars had captured a list of names of people suffering from certain medical conditions.
In Britain, MPs accused the company of deliberately collecting millions of passwords, websites and emails for commercial gain. It admitted collecting information from unsecured wireless networks as its vehicles roamed residential streets to create the mapping product.
The Metropolitan Police recently announced that they would not launch a criminal inquiry. The decision came after the United States Federal Trade Commission ruled out direct action while registering concerns that the information was collected.
A Google spokeswoman said: "We're pleased that the ICO have concluded their investigation and we will be working to delete the data as soon as possible."
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...