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UK reopens Google Street View inquiries

Britain’s data regulator has reopened its investigation into Google’s Street View, saying that an inquiry by United States authorities has raised new doubts about the disputed program.

Steve Eckersley, enforcement chief of the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), said that Google has questions to answer about Street View, an attention-grabbing project that sent camera-toting vehicles across the globe to create three-dimensional maps of the world’s highways and byways.

Luc Vincent, Google Engineering Director, demonstrates how Google captures images in hard to reach places with Street View Trekker at the Google offices in San Francisco California

 But the cars weren’t just taking pictures; they were scooping up passwords, web addresses, emails and other sensitive data transmitted over unsecured wireless networks.

 There was outrage on both sides of the Atlantic when the data-slurping was exposed in early 2010, and the ICO was one of several European agencies that investigated Street View in the aftermath of the scandal.

 But in November that year, the ICO gave Google a mere slap on the wrist, saying that while Google had violated British data-protection laws, it would escape any fines, so long as it pledged not to do it again.

 At the time, Google insisted that the breach was an accident.

 “We did not want this data, have never used any of it on our products and services and have sought to delete it as quickly as possible,” the company claimed back then.

 Evidence made public earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has since punctured Google’s “oops-I-took-your-data” defence.

 In a report from 13 April , the FCC found that Google’s data collection was the deliberate work of a Google engineer, and that his Street View colleagues had been briefed on his activities.

 The report also noted that investigators in France, Canada and the Netherlands found that Google intercepted data, including complete email messages, instant message conversations, videos and audio, medical data, sensitive legal information and data related to dating and pornographic websites.

 Google struck a relaxed note in a written statement emailed to reporters.

 “We’re happy to answer the ICO’s questions,” the statement said, noting that Google’s project leaders “never even looked” at the captured data.

Source:- http://www.zdnet.com.au/uk-reopens-google-street-view-inquiries-339339612.htm



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