Google Given 35 Days In UK To Delete Street View WiFi Data

/ 3 years ago


Back in March Google was fined just $7 million in the USA for stealing WiFi data whilst conducting its street view scanning of American cities. Now Google is facing similar problems in the UK where it is has been told by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office that it has just 35 days to delete any remaining data “mistakenly” collected for its Street View service. If it doesn’t successfully manage to do that then it will face fully fledged criminal proceedings by the UK government.

Unlike in the USA Google will not be facing a fine in the UK because what Google have done did not cause enough detriment to individuals to justify a fine. Despite the collection of data about unprotected WiFi networks being dubbed mistaken and accidental, a Google engineer had actually written such a task into the algorithm of the Street View cameras. Furthermore, at least two other Google employees knew about what the Street View process was harvesting and this process was happening in 30 other countries. Though Google claims such instructions were not set at corporate level and the data was not looked at or used, which the court believed.

So yet again it looks like Google will walk away with noting more than a slap on the wrists in the UK to what can be described as a huge violation of privacy at a national level. In fact while people bash the U.S government and their collaborators for the PRISM program maybe it’s about time we took a closer look at the actions of Google as they are not exactly sin-free when it comes to exploiting privacy.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia

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  • Pikdum

    I hardly think the collection of data about unprotected WiFi networks qualifies as an exploitation of privacy.

    • Well the courts in both the USA and the UK seem to think otherwise, and I agree with them.

    • VisualAudio

      Yeah, why don’t you leave your Wifi unprotected and see what people use it for.

      • Peter Meehan

        Why would anyone feel the need to leave their wifi unprotected?
        If you’re giving anyone with a wifi chip access to your router, Mr. Google Employee driving by and collecting statistics is probably the least of your worries.
        Of course, I am in no way condoning what Google have done and it’s probably indicative of what they’ll try and get away with in the future, but there is merit to Pikadum’s point; the only people affected by this will be BT and plebs stupid enough to leave their wifi open.

  • Wayne

    I wonder how Google were caught out anyway? Maybe they have a couple of Edward Snowden types working for them. I hope so.

    • d6bmg

      lol who knows??

  • d6bmg

    And the biggest question is, what would happen with the backups stored in offsite(s)??