Google Exonerated of Data Violations in UK

Europe, International, Privacy, Wireless July 29th, 2010


WASHINGTON, July 29, 2010 – Following an investigation of Google’s unauthorized Wi-Fi data collection, UK data protection authorities announced that the telecom giant had not done real damage.

“On the basis of the samples we saw we are satisfied so far that it is unlikely that Google will have captured significant amounts of personal data,” the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said in a statement. “There is also no evidence as yet that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment.”

The issue sprang from a glitch in Google’s Wi-Fi data collection devices in Street View vehicles which allowed the devices to also collect data sent over unencrypted networks. According to the ICO, while this data has been collected, it is unlikely to violate anyone’s privacy.

“[The data] does not include meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person,” the ICO said in a statement.

Similar investigations are underway in Canada, Australia, and the United States, where Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has begun leading an investigation backed by 48 other state Attorneys General.

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