US report prompts fresh Google Street View UK scrutiny

US report prompts fresh Google Street View UK scrutiny

Summary: The Information Commissioner's Office is to look into a report by US regulators that found Google could have been aware that its Street View cars were collecting personal data for three years.The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report claimed a Google engineer, named by the New York Times as Marius Milner, told colleagues and a senior manager about collecting unencrypted Wi-Fi data.

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The Information Commissioner's Office is to look into a report by US regulators that found Google could have been aware that its Street View cars were collecting personal data for three years.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report claimed a Google engineer, named by the New York Times as Marius Milner, told colleagues and a senior manager about collecting unencrypted Wi-Fi data.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said in May 2010 that Google should delete the data it had harvested in the UK, after erroneously finding that the search and advertising company had not collected personal details. The ICO did an abrupt about-face in November 2010, saying that Google had in fact broken the law, by collecting personal details. The ICO then decided not to fine Google.

The ICO said it would look into the FCC report in a statement on Tuesday.

"We will study the Federal Communication Commission's report and consider what further action, if any, needs to be taken," said the statement.

"Google provided us with a formal undertaking in November 2010 about their future conduct, following their failure in relation to the collection of Wi-Fi data by their Street View cars. This included a provision for the ICO to audit Google's privacy practices. The audit was published in August 2011 and we will be following up on it in June to ensure our recommendations have been put in place."

UK campaign group Privacy International told the Guardian on Tuesday that Google should be investigated by the police.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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