The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Google Admits It Did Not Delete Data Taken From Wi-Fi Devices

We told you before about the Google Street View vehicles that illegally collected data from unprotected Wi-Fi devices while they took pictures of the streets in Europe, Australia and the United States.

We told you that the cars slurped passwords and emails and pictures and web searches. We told you about the apology and the fact that Britain found Google broke laws. We also told you that Google later revealed that the snooping was not accidental.

Today, Google dropped another bombshell by way of a letter to Britain's Information Commissioner's Office.

The AP reports that the company admits that it has kept a "small portion" of the 600 gigabytes of personal data it collected and had promised to delete back in 2010. The AP adds:

"'Google apologizes for this error,' Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, said in the letter, which the ICO published.

"The ICO said in a statement that Google Inc., based in Mountain View, California, had agreed to delete all that data nearly two years ago, adding that its failure to do so 'is cause for concern.'

"Other regulators were less diplomatic, with Ireland's deputy commissioner for data protection, Gary Davis, calling Google's failure 'clearly unacceptable.'

"Davis said his organization had conveyed its 'deep unhappiness' to Google and wants answers by Wednesday."

Google said that it had discovered the files from the U.K., Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland Switzerland, Austria and Australia during a "comprehensive manual review"

The ICO has demanded that Google hand over whatever information they still have.

"The ICO is clear that this information should never have been collected in the first place and the company's failure to secure its deletion as promised is cause for concern," it said in the statement.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.