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UK regulator orders Google to delete accidental Street View data cache

updated 08:26 am EDT, Fri June 21, 2013

Ordered to delete within 35 days or be considered in contempt of court

Google has received a reprimand from regulators in the United Kingdom for still having privacy-infringing Wi-Fi data from Street View on its servers. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has demanded that the remaining data found on its servers must be deleted "within the next 35 days," with failure to be "considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offense."

An earlier agreement with the ICO over its Street View Wi-Fi data collection actions involved the deletion of all violating data. The search company discovered last year that it had failed to delete a "small portion" of Wi-Fi data, covering the UK and more than 30 other countries, with the remaining data cache found during a manual inspection of Street View disk inventory.

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley states that Google must not only delete the data found last year within the next month, but to also "immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found," threatening legal action if it fails to do so. The ICO's original decision over the Street View issues remains the same, but the extra data means it "will be taking a keen interest in its operations and will not hesitate to take action if further serious compliance issues come to its attention.

Though Google is facing increased scrutiny from the ICO, it is only the latest event in the ongoing Street View fiasco. In March, the company settled with the US, agreeing to launch an employee training program, destroy data, fund a public service advertising campaign to educate on securing personal information on wireless networks, and a $7 million fine. German data regulators fined Google the maximum 150,000 euro ($195,000) penalty under German law, with the regulator wanting to raise this further as a deterrent.

by MacNN Staff



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