Google breached UK data protection laws, says ICO

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Google breached UK data protection laws, says ICO

Warwick Ashford

Google breached UK data protection law by intercepting Wi-Fi data as it recorded images for its Street View service, according to the Information Commissioner's Office.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will audit Google UK over its data protection practices. However, Google will not face a fine or any other action if the search firm signs an undertaking to ensure data protection breaches do not occur again.

The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, requires Google to delete the payload data collected in the UK as soon as it is legally cleared to do so.

In August, the ICO cleared Google of a UK Wi-Fi privacy breach, as initial investigations showed only fragments of information had been collected.

But the information commissioner ordered a new inquiry into Google's collection of Wi-Fi data in October after Google admitted more detailed information had been captured.

The admission surfaced after international data protection authorities conducted in-depth investigations into Google's actions. The investigations found fragments of personal data including e-mails, complete URLs and passwords.

The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, has rejected calls for a monetary penalty to be imposed. But the ICO said in a statement that the information commissioner is well-placed to take further regulatory action if Google fails to fully comply with the undertakings required of the search company.

Commissioner Graham said the collection of this information was neither fair nor lawful. He said it constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act.

"The most appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in these circumstances is to get written legal assurance from Google that this will not happen again - and to follow this up with an ICO audit," Christopher Graham said.

Google has faced legal action over its activities in collecting images for its Street View service in a number of countries:


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