U.K.: Google Breached Laws

U.K. officials ruled Wednesday that Google Inc. broke the law by collecting data from wireless networks for its Street View mapping service, reflecting growing scrutiny in Europe of the U.S. Internet company’s privacy practices.

Google earlier this year said that the camera-equipped cars it uses to mark the location of wireless networks and take pictures for its Street View service had for years inadvertently collected data from publicly accessible wireless networks. Google initially said that no significant personal data was collected, but last month admitted that emails and passwords had also been copied.

On Wednesday, U.K. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, the regulator in charge of data protection, issued a statement saying that, as a result of the “significant breach” of law, his office would audit Google’s data-protection practices in the U.K. and ask the Mountain View, Calif., company to sign an official commitment affirming that such breaches wouldn’t occur again. The U.K. regulator had earlier found that Google didn’t collect meaningful personal details.

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