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UK orders Google to delete Wi-Fi data collected via Street View project

IOC has given Google an enforcement notice demanding the company removes the data in 35 days time.

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ordered Google to delete all the captured Wi-Fi data it captured via its Street View project or web firm will face court action by the watchdog.

The IOC has served Google an enforcement notice demanding that the company removes the data it had offered to delete in 35 days time.

ICO head of enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said the latest enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by the office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found.

"Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offence," Eckersley said.

The ICO’s move comes after the reopening of its probe into the Google Street View project in April 2012, as well as follows a report by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raising concerns around the actions of the engineer responsible for software used by the cars, and his managers.

ICO has also warned the search engine major that it would take a dedicated interest in its operations and will not dither to take action following any further serious compliance issues coming to its notice.

"The early days of Google Street View should be seen as an example of what can go wrong if technology companies fail to understand how their products are using personal information," Eckersley said.

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"The punishment for this breach would have been far worse, if this payload data had not been contained."

The probe, which forms part of coordinated action by data protection regulators across Europe, to consider whether Google’s latest privacy policy explains the usage of individuals’ personal information across its products and services.

Further, the ICO would write to Google to authenticate its initial findings.

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