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Google privacy chief worked for ICO during Street View probe

Case will be discussed in House of Commons
Fri Jul 06 2012, 11:25
Google Street View car

THE UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE (ICO) has admitted that one of its former privacy managers who worked at the organisation during its Google Street View investigation is now a senior privacy chief at the internet search firm.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that Stephen McCartney, a former strategic liaison group manager for government and society at the ICO, is now a privacy policy manager at Google.

McCartney was working for the ICO between 2004 and 2011 while it investigated the search engine giant.

"This is a pretty shocking revelation. It raises more questions about the information commissioner than it does Google because clearly the ICO has been asleep on their watch on this issue," MP Robert Halfon told The Guardian. He has also told The INQUIRER that he is planning to bring up the issue in the House of Commons.

However, the ICO downplayed the situation, claiming that McCartney "played no part in the investigation into the Google Street View project".

"ICO employees continue to be legally bound by a confidentiality agreement after they leave the organisation, as part of the Data Protection Act," a spokesperson added.

"The published correspondence between Google and the ICO clearly shows that Stephen McCartney was treated like any other organisation's representative, with his emails receiving nothing more than a polite acknowledgement."

Google was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. µ


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