/ Technology

No punishment for Google’s breach of data laws

Emergency escape sign

Google’s accidental collection of consumers’ private data recently came under scrutiny. But though the UK’s privacy watchdog has said Google broke the country’s data laws, the search engine will go unpunished.

Just as almost two-hundred Quangos and other government-established bodies are facing the chop, you would have thought that the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) would seize on the opportunity to show that it’s no toothless tiger.

Things started out badly – the ICO was forced to perform a u-turn on its previous decision. But today it finally confirmed that Google’s collection of personal data via its Street View cars was a ‘significant breach’ of the Data Protection Act. Was the ICO actually going to stick its claws into Google for invading our privacy? Err, no. In fact, it barely slapped it on the wrist.

No fine was imposed. And furthermore, the world’s biggest and richest search engine won’t face any punishment at all. Google said sorry, and that’s good enough, apparently.

Google’s ogling goes unpunished

As it is, all the ICO plans to do is look into Google’s practices. Great, so until the ICO conducts its audit, there’s little to boost the confidence of the millions of us who’s emails, wi-fi addresses and passwords were scooped up as the cars passed Wi-Fi hotspots. Nor does this encourage us that a similar future ‘mistake’ won’t be made.

Do you think the ICO was right not to punish Google, or do you think the search engine should have been taken to task?

Comments
Member

Google said ‘Sorry’. well that’s ok……What the heck?
Google went around the houses (quite literally) and, while taking images for their very useful Street View service, collected more data then is possibly conceivable.
Strangely enough, when I take pictures of friends, my camera doesn’t break into their WLAN data and thieve their personal information.

The gutless wonder that is the Information Commissioner’s Office should be ashamed of itself.

Member
Fat Sam, Glos says:
4 November 2010

Used to love Google. Now I worry. They know more about me than I do.

Member

Dont use them then, there are other search engines!!

Member
pickle says:
4 November 2010

Google should be made to destroy the data they have collected – and the Informatio Collectors Office should witness that destruction.

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
5 November 2010

This is shocking if not entirely unsurprising news. We should protest loudly against this. Not only does this not encourage us that a similar future ‘mistake’ won’t be made, but it also signals to other companies that they can go ahead and do similar things without fear of significant punishment.

Member

Google is now (finally) going to delete all of the data it holds, but is that enough? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11797907

Member

I really dont know who I am more sick with, Google or the government but it just goes to show how these organisations can run rings round our gutless and corrupt politicians.

In the meantime… stop using Google!