Google denies Street View charges as senator snipes at spy planes

Jun 19, 2012
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Last week, the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office reopened its Street View privacy investigation following the FCC’s findings in the United States. In a letter penned to Google, the ICO believes it was misled, with Google stating at the time that it wasn’t a deliberate data collection attempt and that no engineers had knowledge of the issue. Google has now responded to questions laid out by the ICO in the latest letter.

The ICO is said to have asked seven new questions relating to the WiFi data collection performed by Street View vehicles between 2007 and 2010. Questions asked ranged from when managers discovered the data breach to why Google only handed over a limited amount of data relating to the case. In a response, Google says that nothing has changed since the original UK investigation in 2010, and that it handed over all the necessary information.

Responding to allegations that data handed over was “pre-prepared”, Google said: “[A] number of statements and assumptions that incorrectly suggest that the disk made available to the ICO for analysis was “pre prepared” and not representative of the payload collection.” The company goes on to say that reports that there was “widespread knowledge” of the WiFi data collection within the company are incorrect.

In addition to the case in the UK, Google has come under pressure in the United States to blur out people in the new 3D maps that it recently demoed. Senator Charles Schumer believes that the “spy planes” Google is utilizing are powerful enough to capture detailed images of people at their residences, and wants the images blurred in addition to an opt-out feature. A spokesperson for Google has responded by saying that the images aren’t sharp enough to provide that level of detail, and don’t need to be blurred.

[via The Telegraph/The Wall Street Journal]


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