ICO To Investigate Google Street View Case Again

Posted Jun 12, 2012

The United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is reopening their investigation of the Google Street View based on what they found in a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report.

The ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley sent a letter to Google SVP Alan Eustace saying that the case has been reopened because of what they found in the FCC report. The FCC debunks the regulator’s earlier decision that Google did not intentionally collect personal data.

The FCC findings had revealed that Google logged private and sensitive data using Street View cars in the U.S. and that they were aware that the cars were doing so. The letter said

“In April 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published details of their investigation into Google’s capture of data from WiFi networks across the US. The FCC concluded that Google logged the captured data, included emails and passwords.”

“The ICO have reviewed the findings of the FCC report and we understand that a wide range of personal data together with some sensitive data was present in the payloads including IP addresses, full user names, telephone numbers, email messages, instant messages, logging in credentials and medical listings. It therefore seems likely that such information was deliberately captured during [Google Street View] operations conducted in the UK.”

The ICO is asking that Google answers questions regarding the type of data that they captured and how long Google’s management knew about the snooping.

Google responded by saying that they are happy to answer the ICO’s questions. “We have always said that the project leaders did not want and did not use this payload data. Indeed, they never even looked at it,” said Google in a statement.