Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

More Countries Tell Google: We’d Also Like Our Undeleted Street View Data, Thanks

Google last week alerted authorities in affected countries that it failed to delete Wi-Fi payload data surreptitiously collected by Google Street View cars — data that had supposedly been destroyed in 2010. Now the countries are replying one by one.

France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNILsaid today it wanted to look at the data from French networks before it is deleted.

Look for this news story to repeat itself. The total number of countries Google alerted about undeleted data is 11. They are: the U.K., Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Australia.

In each case, local authorities were given the option to look at local data before it was destroyed.

The U.K., too, has publicly asked to review local data. Meanwhile, Ireland’s Deputy Information Commissioner called out Google’s actions as “clearly unacceptable.”

It’s unclear just what regulatory agencies will do with that data, which could include sensitive and personally identifiable information about their citizens.

The existence and the scope of the data seem likely to affect the agencies’ ongoing skepticism of Google — which is in the midst trying to prove to the European Commission and others that it can clean up its act without further regulations and fines.

Google didn’t give an excuse for why the data was not deleted back in 2010, chalking it up to an “error.” The company said it recently uncovered the data while manually reviewing its Street View disk inventory.

When asked for specifics about what was happening with other local authorities, a Google spokesperson declined to comment on ongoing regulatory matters.

Image credit: Dmitry Shironosov/Shutterstock


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