Feeds

Google battles Derby cops over access to Street View data

Criminal caravan caper camera-car capture court clash

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Google has turned the boys in blue red with rage by refusing to hand over private data except by court order.

Police want to trace a vehicle snapped by Google's Street View cameras next to a caravan that was stolen shortly afterwards.

The thief struck in June 2009, while the Soanes family, from Linton, Derbyshire, were out. The police investigation stalled until March 2010, when 11-year-old Reuben found the family home on Street View and saw and the unidentified 4x4 and its driver had been captured on the driveway.

A public appeal for information was issued in November, using the the publicly available version of the photograph, in which the number plate of the 4x4 is automatically blurred by Google to comply with privacy laws. At the same time police asked for the non-anonymised version, but were rebuffed.

It apparently drew no leads, and now Derbyshire Police are pressing Google to release the image without the inconvenience of obtaining a court order.

Investigators have roped in local Tory MP Heather Wheeler to put pressure on the search giant to bend its rules.

"I am disappointed that Google's initial reaction is to refuse," she told the Derby Telegraph.

"It would be sensible for them to enter into a protocol with British police forces to receive and acquiesce to police requests. Of course, the police can get a court order but what a waste of public money in order to do that."

Google remains unmoved however.

"It's very important to Google and our users that we only provide information if valid process is followed, as laid down by governments in law," it said in a statement.

"We have a team specifically trained to evaluate and respond to requests when they are received, and we will of course co-operate with police requests as long as they are legally valid and follow the correct processes."

The rules on when authorities require court backing to obtain private data vary. Most notably for a company such as Google, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, intelligence agencies and police can obtain communications data – records of who communicated with whom, when, where and how, but not of what was said – without routine outside scrutiny.

No such special legislation exists to ease access to Street View-type data. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.