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Thursday, 04 November 2010 09:19

Google escapes trouble over Street View

Written by Nick Farell

UK watchdog snarls slightly
Search outfit Google has been rigorously slapped with a wet bus ticket by Blighty's privacy regulators for illegally sniffing UK's wireless networks.

According to the Independent, the UK's Information Commissioner found that Google committed a "significant breach" of data protection laws when its Street View cars "mistakenly" collected people's email addresses and passwords over unsecured WiFi networks. However, Google has not been fined and was asked never to do it again.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said Google had broken the law when devices installed on its specialised cars collected the personal data. He had told the outfit to delete the information "as soon as it is legally cleared to do so" and ordered an audit of its data protection practices.

Graham said that the the collection of this information was not fair or lawful and constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act. However for some reason he felt it was more appropriate and proportionate to get written legal assurance from Google that this will not happen again.

Peter Fleischer, Google's lawyer, said the company was "profoundly sorry for mistakenly collecting" the data. Given the world wide reaction against Google's Street Car sniffing, it will be thinking that it has had an easy time in the UK.

The Metropolitan Police recently announced that they would not launch a criminal inquiry into the incident.

Nick Farell

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+6 #1 Warhead 2010-11-04 09:51
Let's face it...today we live in a world where there is no privacy.

Internet activity - Logged

Bank transactions - Logged

Personal information - Sold to third party company (which explains why you get junk mails under your door every week)

Your daily activities - recorded using CCTV

We can run but we cannot hide! :D
+3 #2 yourma2000 2010-11-04 10:00
This coming from the most heavily CCTV equipped country in the world, should we be bothered? chances are if I go up to my room now, there's a policeman trying to swab for DNA on my boxers
+3 #3 Jaberwocky 2010-11-04 11:50
And of course if the authorities don't know what we are doing then we help them out by logging our details on Youtube/Myspace/Twitter & facebook.How helpful are we to the authorities. :lol:
0 #4 ghelyar 2010-11-04 15:31
There's absolutely no way to collect this information by mistake. You have to be actively sniffing to capture it and even if you are not specifically sniffing for email addresses or passwords, just sniffing violates the data protection act, computer misuse act or both.

Quoting Warhead:
Personal information - Sold to third party company (which explains why you get junk mails under your door every week)

You can actually stop junk mail for the vast majority of what you get through your door in the UK. Opt out at royal mail or just Google "stop junk mail"
0 #5 Bl0bb3r 2010-11-04 19:49
"people's email addresses and passwords over unsecured WiFi networks" is like writing your credit/debit card's pin number on your forehead.

Is google to blame? Not really, that data was put into public through carelessness the same way people put it into social networking sites and so on. Better make educational/awareness programs for the great unwashed about technology an privacy than constantly throwing lawsuits and pointing fingers left and right at who's supposedly to be blamed.

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