Information Commissioner lets Google off the hook

Ico_logo Depressing to write two stories about whitewashes on the same day (the other's here). Again, those supposedly responsible for stopping breaches of privacy are instead acting as apologists for such breaches. Earlier, it was the Surveillance Commissioner. Now it's the Information Commissioner. Perhaps the problem lies with these Orwellian names, reversing the meaning of the thing to which they are applied..? They ought to combine forces to form a new Ministry of Love…

The Information Commissioner popped along to see Google about their Wi-Fi data snatching the other day, had a jolly peek at what Google showed them and decided there was "nothing to see here, move along, move along…" A banal statement was issued, effectively letting Google off the hook.

This decision is little short of farcical. Information commissioners (or equivalents) all around the world are investigating Google's Wi-Fi intrusion. In Britain alone, our commissioner has whitewashed the company's wrongdoing.

The Metropolitan police are currently investigating Google over this very issue. If the allegations against Google merit an investigation by the police, who have to consider the criminal standard of fault, how can those allegations not be said to merit an investigation by the ICO?

The ICO has really let British people down. We deserve better from those who are given the responsibility of protecting our privacy.

By Alex Deane

Posted by on Jul 29, 2010 in Online privacy | 5 Comments


  1. FaustiesBlog
    29th July 2010

    Is the Information Commissioner following government policy, or is the civil service driving this?

  2. Daniel Hart
    30th July 2010

    What exactly is the data that’s been collected? Does it break the law to collect it?
    This article stinks of incredible bias.

  3. Purlieu
    30th July 2010

    This bunch needs an FOI up them pronto, so ironic

  4. Redacted
    30th July 2010

    @Daniel Hart
    Bias? This is a website that opposes surveillance and privacy intrusion, what would you expect?
    If you have some arguments in support of Google, let’s hear them. You might have one we haven’t discussed before.
    I would say that the ICO has bias also, in that it appears to be heavily biased against rocking big brother’s boat.
    Google is getting legal problems over this issue in many parts of the world. Our ICO has looked at some “samples” of the data gathered and decided they were innocuous. So what? Whether some samples were innocuous or not is hardly the issue. The issue is whether it is really okay for the world’s largest corporations to wander about the world covertly (by er, accident, ahem), collecting local data transmissions whose privacy people might reasonably expect to be protected by law. Google is not your local-area hacker, it is a global data-mining company.

  5. china wholesale
    21st January 2011

    What exactly is the data that’s been collected? Does it break the law to collect it?