The British Information Commissioner Office announced the outcome of an investigation into the data captured by Wi-Fi of Google’s Street View cars.
The Commissioner concluded that there was a “significant breach of the Data Protection Act” following Google’s capture of Wi-Fi payload data as part of the activity of the Street View mapping.
The ICO said that since International data protection authorities that had undertaken investigations found fragments of personal data including emails, complete URLs and passwords and following the admission by Google that personal data had been collected, the Commissioner decided that an investigation was necessary.
The company escaped a fine but the ICO said that Google UK would be subject to an audit and must “sign an undertaking to ensure data protection breaches do not occur again or they will face enforcement action.”
British privacy advocates Big Brother Watch, Privacy International, NO2ID, Action on Rights for Children and the Open Rights Group issued a joint statement which blasted the ICO for failing to impose a sanction on the internet giant.
The self-named ‘Civil liberties groups’ said the finding was the “latest episode in a litany of regulatory failure that brings disrepute on the Commissioner's office,” before launching into a lengthy criticism of the ICO investigation into Google.
“In our view the ICO is incapable of fulfilling its mandate,” they said. Google has since apologised, said that the data capture was ‘inadvertent’ and that it was working with authorities to delete the data.