UK regulators re-open Google StreetView case

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UK regulators re-open Google StreetView case

Will now assess international findings.


The UK Information Commissioner's Office said it would take into consideration the findings of its international counterparts in continuing investigations into WiFi payload data collected by Google during its StreetView operation.

"The case has not been closed," the ICO said in a statement Wednesday, backtracking from its statement two weeks ago when it cleared Google of collecting meaningful data.

A fortnight ago the ICO had come to accept that other countries may come to a different conclusion, but stood firm by its decision that the payload data it inspected at Google did not contain personally identifiable information.

"We remain vigilant and will be reviewing our own findings together with relevant findings and evidence from our international counterparts' investigations," the ICO said today. "In the light of this we will decide what, if any further action to take."

The UK had stood alone in clearing Google. The latest attack on the search and advertising giant came from South Korean law enforcement which visited the company unannounced to inspect its StreetView cars and question staff.

Dozens of state-led investigations in the US are ongoing. Some lawmakers have questioned whether Google intentionally collected its payload data.

Australia's Privacy Commissioner last month found that Google did collect personal information, and forced the company to apologise. Separately the Australian Federal Police launched its own investigation into the matter.

The ICO said its response was "responsible and proportionate", clarifying that it is powerless to enforce the law Google was accused of violating, the UK's telecommunications interception act - the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.


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