The ICO is wrong on Google

Google As you can see here, individual liberties and privacy groups call on Information Commissioner’s Office to investigate Google: until a full investigation is conducted, Google must be forced to retain private ‘Streetview’ data

Following revelations that Google’s ‘Streetview’ has been harvesting private information over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, the European Privacy Association (EPA) and Big Brother Watch call for an investigation.

Google’s disdain for privacy violates the personal privacy that has been a cornerstone of modern Europe.

Little is known about what data was collected, and stressed the need to investigate what information Google was able to gather. In the same spirit in which Google engaged with the Chinese government, we invite Google to disclose why, for how long and what type of information they have been gathering from members of the public with ‘Streetview’ cars. Everyone has a right to know what private data Google has on them.

Whether your Wi-Fi network is unencrypted or secured, anyone should be able to conduct their private affairs, be it online banking, shopping or checking your email, safe in the knowledge that their personal liberty will not be compromised.

If Google does not act in good faith and fully divulge the private information they have been accessing, then a full investigation must be carried out. We applaud the national Data Protection Authorities in Germany, France, Czech Republic, and Italy and are concerned by the Information Commissioner’s decision to dismiss any such investigation in the UK.

We call on the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure that Google does not destroy all the information they gathered until an investigation has been carried out.

Google is one of the most innovative private enterprises in the world, and we commend them for that. But with a global business there comes global responsibility. It appears that in their endeavors to innovate and design bespoke products they have overstepped the mark and compromised the private lives of potentially millions of British people.

Google still has a lot of questions to answer.

Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Online privacy | 9 Comments