Google has said it will delete the stolen Wi-Fi data it accidentally collected with unsecured wireless networks in UK Street View cars, and will not face punishment or fines by the British Government.
Deputy information commissioner David Smith said: “We’d have had to find that there was substantial damage or distress to individuals from the collection of snippets of e-mails, URLs and passwords. We’d have to meet that criteria for a penalty to be imposed.
“We spent less time searching than others did. If we had searched for days and days we would have found more. It is not a good use of the data protection authority to duplicate more in-depth enquiries. We have based our decision on the findings of other data authorities. It was exactly the same type of information found by them.”
Many are upset with the findings that essentially allow Google to get off scott-free for invading the privacy of thousands.
Jim Killock, executive director of The Open Rights Group, called the findings a “shocking state of affairs”.
“The ICO needs more powers and definitely needs more technical expertise. To my mind people’s privacy has been breached and they should be told about it. The ICO has a duty to let people know what has happened,” he said.
Right, so now I’m off to steal as much data as I can from my local open networks to see if I can get away with it too.