Google Finally Deletes Illegal Wi-Fi Street View Data
Peter Donnell / 3 years ago
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) wrote to Google earlier this year, warning them that they had discovered that the Wi-Fi data collected by Google’s Street View cars back in 2009 had still not been deleted, despite previous warnings that holding the data was illegal. The letter in question gave google just 35 days to delete the data or be held in contempt of court.
Google originally claimed that all of the data was erased in December 2010 but it later come to light that Google still had a portion of the data in their possession when Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, emailed ICO to state that they had found “a small portion of the payload data” during an inventory take of the Street View data and that the discs found had been missed when the rest were sent for destruction.
“We can confirm that Google has deleted the last of the payload data collected by their Street View cars in the UK, and that this process has been verified by an independent consulting firm in Stroz Friedberg. This is in accordance with the requirements of the enforcement notice issued by the ICO last month,” an ICO spokesman told ZDNet.
The data in question was gathered by the Street View cars, which aside from taking pretty pictures of all our streets and roads also collected MAC addresses, SSIDs, passwords, email data (from unsecured wi-fi hotspots) and maybe other bits of information too, this obviously outraged a lot of people and raised more than a few privacy concerns, but hopefully this can no all be laid to rest, at least until another disc is found hiding under a box somewhere.
Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.