U.K. Regulators Double Down on Google Street View Probe
The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner Office (ICO) is reconsidering the feeble hand slap it gave Google for its Street View data-collection debacle, in light of new evidence surfaced by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
On Tuesday, the ICO reopened its investigation into Street View, moved to do so by an FCC investigation that belies to some extent Google’s claim that its Street View cars “mistakenly collected” personal data. That investigation found Google collected everything from complete email messages, instant messages and log-in credentials to telephone numbers and online dating info and porn site visits. The ICO figures that if Google captured that kind of data in the States, it likely did exactly the same thing in Britain.
“During the course of our investigation, we were specifically told by Google that it was a simple mistake, and if the data was collected deliberately, then it is clear that this is a different situation than was reported to us in April 2010,” the ICO said in a letter Google. “Given the findings of the FCC, we have reopened our investigation.”
So Google is once again in the hot seat over its harvesting of sensitive personal information from unsuspecting households, though it seems largely unfazed by it.
“We’re happy to answer the ICO’s questions,” the company said in a statement. “We have always said that the project leaders did not want and did not use this payload data. Indeed, they never even looked at it.”