Google have been found to be in breach of privacy laws while undertaking Street View data collection and if the global internet giants fail to delete all of the data that they gathered mistakenly within the next 35 days then the will be facing prosecution in the UK thanks to a ruling.
According to news reports the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in the UK has said that they have served Google with an enforcement notice demanding that data be deleted.
Stephen Eckersley from the ICO said: “Today’s enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further discs are found.
“Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offence.”
While the ICO have demanded that data be deleted by Google they have not issued a fine to the company for the mistake. The reason behind this is because there has to be complaints by individuals about the data that has been collected to result in a fine.
The ICO explained that a fine cannot be only be issued currently because “detriment caused to individuals” failed to “meet the level required to issue a monetary penalty.”
Google have admitted that they breached the privacy laws in the UK some months ago when it was revealed that the cars used to gather information for Street view on Google mistakenly also gathered information about emails, passwords and other confidential information through various wi-fi spots. All of this information was gathered without the authorisation of the individuals who held the information.
In a similar case Google were fined $7 million for breaching the privacy of users in the US.
Street view is hugely popular as a new way of looking at maps in 3D, however the methods of collecting the information have been questioned and in the past the Street View cars have picked up images of people doing things they shouldn’t be with one woman ending up leaving her husband after she caught his car parked outside the house of another woman during the day.