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Google escapes trouble over Street View

by on04 November 2010

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.

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