The Inquirer-Home

UK loosens Google data noose

One down, rest of planet to go
Thu Jul 29 2010, 15:55

WIFI SPYING Google has been let off the hook in the UK for its Street View cars having harvested payload data from WiFi networks.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), an independent authority on information rights gave Google a get out of jail free card in the UK.

The ICO issued a statement, judging whether Google had retained significant personal information after it 'accidentally' collected data from unsecured WiFi networks.

"There is also no evidence as yet that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment," wrote an unattributed ICO spokesperson.

"The information we saw does not include meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person."

However, the statement leaves Google far from immune to potential prosecution. The ICO has only looked at a limited volume of UK data and Google also collected data in many other countries that are, of course, outside ICO jurisdiction.

"We recognise that other data protection authorities conducting a detailed analysis of all the payload data collected in their jurisdictions may nevertheless find samples of information which can be linked to identifiable individuals."

The INQUIRER has reported that privacy groups and governments in 38 US States are seeking action against Google for its WiFi snooping. Google has also received strongly worded notices from Ireland, Germany and Australia for breaching personal data privacy protections. µ


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