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U.K. officials ask Google to delete Wi-Fi data

Google's admission that it collected personal data from unsecured Wi-Fi hot spots has prompted the U.K. government to request deletion of that data.

Google Street View London
Any personal data from Wi-Fi hot spots collected by Google's Street View cars in the U.K. will have to be deleted. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The fallout from Google's Wi-Fi data collection gaffe continues, with the U.K. government ordering it to destroy personal data collected through the Street View project.

The Information Commission's Office in the U.K. issued the order Tuesday, according to the Guardian, following Google's disclosure Friday that it had inadvertently collected personal data from Wi-Fi hot spots as part of its Street View mapping project. Google has said that it collected random packets of Internet traffic sent over unsecured hot spots as part of its bid to use Wi-Fi hot-spot triangulation for geolocation services, which several companies have done without collecting the personal data.

Google has offered to open up its databases to outsiders to review the information and ensure it is properly destroyed. The ICO decided that since Google hadn't collected full streams of Internet traffic from users there was no requirement for Google to keep the data as evidence in any future proceeding, according to the report.

However, privacy advocates in the U.K. were disappointed that the ICO took Google at its word. Google initially told the German government--and the public--that it didn't collect this type of personal data before backtracking on that claim following an internal review of its software.

Meanwhile, the Irish government asked Google to delete data from Street View activity in Ireland, and Google said it did so "in the presence of an independent third party," it said in an update to its original blog post on Friday. In the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission will probably open a preliminary inquiry into the debacle, but is just getting started with its investigation.