Feeds

ICO U-turns on Street View

Lapdog growls

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Mobile application security vulnerability report

The Information Commissioner's Office has changed its mind about Google's Street View and decided that it is after all in breach of the Data Protection Act.

The watchdog will require Google to sign a piece of paper promising not to break the law again.

The ICO will also audit Google's privacy practices.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: "It is my view that the collection of this information was not fair or lawful and constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act. The most appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in these circumstances is to get written legal assurance from Google that this will not happen again – and to follow this up with an ICO audit.”

The ICO said: "The Commissioner has rejected calls for a monetary penalty to be imposed but is well placed to take further regulatory action if the undertaking is not fully complied with."

The Metropolitan Police last week dropped its investigation into the Street View.

The search and ad giant recently appointed a privacy director to help it sort out internal practices and oversee privacy in all its products. This came after it admitted that its mass Wi-Fi snoop from its fleet of Street View cars had slurped up passwords and entire emails and URLs. The company insists the data was collected accidentally.

The U-turn ends a less than glorious episode for the ICO which initially cleared Google's collection of Wi-Fi data by insisting it contained no personal information.

Then the ICO reopened its investigation in the wake of tougher action by other privacy bodies around the world.

Last week it was attacked by MPs, who described its behaviour as "lily-livered".

The Czech Republic recently stopped Google's Street View cars collecting more pictures until Google applies for a data processing licence.

Big Brother Watch's Alex Deane said: "The Information Commissioner’s failure to take action is disgraceful.

“Ruling that Google has broken the law, but then taking no action against it, shows the Commissioner to be a paper tiger. The Commissioner is an apologist for the worst offender in his sphere of responsibility, not a policeman of it.

"If Google can harvest the personal information of thousands of people and get off scot-free, then the ICO plainly has a contempt for privacy."®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.