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Google Information Commissioner's Office

Google given 35 days to delete Wi-Fi data collected by street view cars or face prosecution


By Gillian West, Social media manager

June 22, 2013 | 2 min read

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has given Google 35 days to remove data it "mistakenly collected" whilst capturing Street View images, or face criminal proceedings.

The ICO reopened its investigation on the internet search giant last year after further revelations about data taken from Wi-Fi networks, finding additional discs containing private data.

Of the discs Google said they had been "accidentally" retained after it had pledged to destroy all the data collected.

"Today's enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further discs are found," commented Stephen Eckersley, the office's head of enforcement.

"Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offence."

On Friday Google issued a statement claiming: "We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue. The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it.

"We co-operated fully with the ICO throughout its investigation, and having received its order this morning we are proceeding with our plan to delete the data."

The ICO has told Google it must inform it if any further discs are found and has chosen to not impose a fine.

Google Information Commissioner's Office

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