Google to Remove Street View Wi-Fi Data in UK

Posted by at 3:27 pm on November 19, 2010

UK deputy information commissioner David Smith today said that Google had agreed to delete Wi-Fi data collected by its Street View cars. The search firm would purge the data in the next nine months and would avoid threatened legal action since the data remained in Google’s hands. There was no reason to fine the company, Smith told the BBC.

The remarks came in spite of a later admission that Google had obtained passwords and site addresses while its cars were accidentally running test code that scraped Wi-Fi data. David admitted that the UK investigation wasn’t as thorough as in Canada or some other countries, but it would have taken “days and days” to reach the same conclusions, which the commission used as part of its basis.

Privacy has tightened at Google since the discoveries, as it now requires a privacy document for every project and more oversight across the company. Canada has nonetheless warned that it may take more serious action against Google, while investigations are still underway in South Korea and other countries.

Google had officially planned only to use Wi-Fi to map the locations of hotspots around the world, but the privacy  mess has led it to drop wireless from its plans altogether.

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