Google Street View cases may be reopened in Europe

May 2, 2012
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Google Street View cases may be reopened in Europe

Google may have avoided any messy legal trouble with the FCC in the United States over the Street View case, but Europe isn’t quite done with the search company just yet. The New York Times reports that privacy groups in the UK, France, and Germany may reopen their investigations into the Street View case after it was revealed that the engineer behind the project knew exactly what the capabilities were.

While Google faced pressure over the issue around the world, most of the cases were settled after the search giant apologized and placed the blame on the programmer. The new information surrounding the engineer who programmed the Street View software could influence the outcome of the current German reviews against Google. Johannes Caspar, a data protection commissioner in Hamburg, says that the new information will have a big impact on the situation. “Now ... we are learning that this wasn’t a mistake and that people within the company knew this information was being collected. That puts it in a totally different light.”

Meanwhile, a French privacy regulator has said it will review the FCC’s conclusion to the case in the United States and act accordingly with its own inquiry. The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés is the head of a European review over Google’s new privacy policy, and one person familiar with the matter believes new questions will be raised regarding Google’s collection of WiFi data.

The Information Commissioner Office in the UK will also be reviewing the FCC’s decision and decide whether or not further action would be necessary. Back in 2010, the UK regulator asked that the collected data simply be destroyed after accepting Google’s ap0logy.


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