Google is facing a fresh investigation into its conduct following allegations that its Street view cars had intercepted private emails, texts, photos and documents during their cross country trawl – which Google bosses later covered up.
The claims were made by an engineer, Marius Milner, who designed the software for the cars, with the expectation that the Information Commissioner and police could now get involved.
Google admitted intercepting fragments of data two years ago but asserted that this was a “mistake” but the latest claims suggest that managers were aware of the problem as far back as 2007, but did nothing to stop it.
This occurred where a street view vehicle encountered an unencrypted home wifi signal via a mounted antenna; any data being transmitted at that moment was then logged and recorded in the vehicles onboard computer.
A spokesman for the Information Commissioner said: “We are currently studying the FCC report to consider what further action, if any, needs to be taken.
“Google provided our office with a formal undertaking in November 2010 about their future conduct, following their failure in relation to the collection of wi-fi data by their Street View cars.
“This included a provision for the ICO to audit Google’s privacy practices. The audit was published in August 2011 and we will be following up on it later this year, to ensure our recommendations have been put in place.”