Google found to have breached privacy in UK, gets slap on wrist

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Google’s collecting of personal data, including full emails and passwords to sites, while its Street View cars were driving around cities has been described to be a “significant breach” of privacy in the UK by its information commissioner.

Christopher Graham has said that Google has breached the Data Protection Act in the UK. However, shockingly, rather than to make an example of Google for creating such a heavy breach, it will not inflict a financial penalty on the search engine and instead has told that the company should sign a document promising that these things do not happen again or face further enforcement action.

“It is my view that the collection of this information was not fair or lawful and constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act,” Graham said in a statement.

“The most appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in these circumstances is to get written legal assurance from Google that this will not happen again – and to follow this up with an ICO audit.”

Google will also be forced to delete the data once legally cleared to do so. This solution is seen as a better alternative than what happened in Germany, when German law officers demanded that Google handed over the personal data to it – though some questioned that it could be used by them to arrest them on crimes.

No word on how the Australian Government plans to handle the data collected on its citizens by Google.

Image from: Jon Delorey/Flickr