Google admits failure to delete personal Street View data

Google has admitted to UK authorities that almost two years on, it has failed to delete all personal data from Street View mapping.

Two years ago, Google was caught accidentally capturing snippets of personal data while logging Wi-Fi hotspots via Street View vehicles. After promising to delete all such data in November 2010, the UK's Information Commissioner has found that Google still hasn't finished the job.

The all-seeing eye of Google Australia's Street View trike. (Credit: CNET Australia)

As reported by CNET, Google disclosed on Friday that "it still has in its possession a small portion of ... data collected by our Street View vehicles in the UK".

According to Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, a recent review of disks has determined that "we continue to have payload data from the UK and other countries. We are in the process of notifying the relevant authorities in those countries".

Already, a number of European agencies have stated that this is a serious breach of the almost two-year-old agreement, in which it was decided that all data would be destroyed by December 2010. The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has declared the news "a cause for concern", and Gary Davis, Ireland's data-protection officer, has stated that this violation of the agreement is "clearly unacceptable".

Such data is known to have been captured during Australian Street View mapping.

About the author

Seamus Byrne is CNET's Editor for Australia and Asia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Preferably all at the same time.


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