Google failed to delete all Street View data in UK

The company notified the UK Information Commissioner's Office that it had discovered remaining payload data

Google disclosed Friday in an email to the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office that it had not yet deleted all user data collected by its Street View vehicles, as it had agreed to more than 18 months ago.

The Street View vehicles sniffed the content of users' Internet communications on open Wi-Fi networks.

Google said it discovered "a small portion of payload data ... from the UK and other countries." The email, which the ICO has made public, came from Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel.

The data was discovered during a manual review of thousands of disks, according to the email. A person familiar with the matter said human error was to blame for its continued existence.

The ICO said the data was supposed to have been deleted in December 2010 according to a November agreement between Google and the ICO. It was collected prior to May 2010, according to the agency.

The ICO re-opened its investigation into Street View earlier this year, after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission revealed in a report that Google knew its vehicles had collected user data. The FCC fined Google US$25,000 for impeding its investigation.

"The ICO is clear that this information should never have been collected in the first place and the company's failure to secure its deletion as promised is cause for concern," the ICO said in a statement Friday on its website.

Google has said in the past that it has never accessed the data, and has blamed a single engineer for its collection.

A company spokesperson declined to comment further.

Google asked the ICO for permission to delete the remaining payload data in its email. However, the ICO notified Google that the body intends "to examine the contents of the remaining payload data."

Fleischer indicated in his email that Google would be willing to allow the ICO to inspect the data.

The company has also faced inquiries over data collection in other countries, including Spain and Italy.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cameron Scott

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?