Google to delete Street View personal data
Google has agreed to delete all the personal data its Street View cars collected from unsecured wi-fi networks and will introduce new training and guidance for its staff, the Information Commissioner said today.
Christopher Graham said Google will introduce improved training measures on security awareness and data protection issues for all its employees worldwide.
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 again.
"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."
Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president, signed an undertaking on behalf of Google Inc to put in place improved training measures on security awareness and data protection issues for all employees, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said.
The company will also require its engineers to maintain a privacy design document for every new project before it is launched and the personal data collected in the UK will be deleted.
The ICO will also 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.
Google sparked an international outcry over claims that it was spying on people with its Street View mapping cars and technology.
The company was accused of unlawfully harvesting data including emails, passwords and website addresses during the creation of the popular product.
MPs accused the company of deliberately collecting millions of passwords, websites (URLs) 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."
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