back to article MP slams ICO for 'lily-livered' Google probe

The Information Commissioner faces sharp criticism in Parliament over his handling of an investigation into Google's Street View Wi-Fi data harvesting operation. Tory MP Robert Halfon admonished Christopher Graham ahead of a backbench debate on Google and internet privacy today. "The UK Information Commissioner has been lily- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    MPs - Please get rid of this toothless Information Commissioner and

    get somebody with some real teeth and not afraid to use them.

    The ICO's handeling of any information brach investigation is shamefull.

  2. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    What, An MP jumping on a band wagon?

    Phorm, Cview (or whatever VMedia are peddling) the digital economy bill, all do the same thing. This mean the ICo will be hauled over the coals for them as well?

    Probably not.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Google's invasion of privacy is starting to look like a pattern.

  4. Tom 7

    CMon Tories

    make you minds up - do you want commissions with teeth, or ones that placate the huddled massed but don't interfere with business?

  5. Jimmy Floyd
    Big Brother


    'Harlow MP's call for an "internet bill of rights" to protect the individual online...'

    ...from everyone except the government, and those who pay them.

  6. JaitcH

    Robert Halfon's vacuous head demonstrates principle behind 'Empty vessels make most noise'

    You don't go around leaving your premises unlocked, as was the case in yesteryear, only to complain that someone walked in and taken something.

    For years the WiFi manufacturers have been advising people to implement security, not helped by making the default as security turned off, so Halton and his merry bunch of dummies should stop blaming Google, who was honest enough not to delete the evidence.

    As someone who travels constantly, I NEVER have to pay for WiFi access, I even download gigabyte Bit-torrents over WiFi and rarely get interrupted. As might be expected, this is being posted over a neighbours unit and he uses WEP! (I subscribe to so if you need some handy passwords ...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ..and if you leave the bolt on,

      ... but not padlocked, like your WEP "protected" neighbour, should you be surprised that your network is being intruded on? Or is "you didn't do enough to protect it" a valid excuse?

      Are you saying you regularly break into others' wireless networks and steal their broadband?

      1. Syntax Error

        Do us a favour

        Stealing broadband??? Whats all that about then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      forgetting to lock my front door, or using a flimsy lock, is not actually an invite to all and sundry to walk into my home, and start taking/using things. If you are, as you claim, actually cracking people's encryption and continually using other's broadband, potentially costing them significant amounts of money*, you should also be prosecuted for the criminal you are!

      It doesn't matter if you encrypt a communication or not, intercepting it is still a crime, and should be punished as such.

      *what if you're bitorrenting a multi-gigabyte file through a 3g wi-fi point on their phone?

      1. Tempest

        Intercepting WiFi is only a crime in some places

        Any radio transmission is sent at risk of being intercepted, whether or not it has some control features embedded in the signal.

        I guess if you are in the EU listening to radio transmissions, made in a common or open frequency band, it might be an offence but there are many countries where it isn't. I know a McBarf burger store where there is a password required but they don't care who uses it. Same with coffee shops. etc.

        Here in Cambodia we access satellite radio and TV as well as WiFi quite legally without having to pay for services.- the laws attitude is these controls are for transmission systems revenue purposes and if they don't work, try again.

        The only difference between here and next door, either north or east, Laos or Vietnam, is that you have to get a government licence for operating a satellite dish.

        BTW, we have unlimited downloads in all three countries so no one is losing money.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      I hope the Report does the decent thing

      and report your message to the authorities. You are a criminal and hopefully from your ID and your history of IP addresses they will be able to track you down.

      Boasting about your illegal activities is also extremely childish by the way....

      1. JaitcH
        Thumb Up

        All very legal ... where I live

        You are assuming that all countries have similar legislation to yours. They don't, therefore your views have limited geographical applicability. Besides, reporting my IP would have little consequence - it's BTW - as VN laws aren't being broken. Neither am I a criminal. Furthermore, I and most others use VPN so IP's become even less relevant.

        Most of our restaurant WiFi's are supplied by FPT (User: fpt; p/w: telecom) which are openly displayed when you access a WiFi (just hit enter) and the attitude here is that open WiFi is good for business. Only Western owned hotels think about charging for WiFi.

        Same in regional airports, and even on the rail and some buses. Free and unlimited. And passworded.

        So please don't get would up, privacy is being breached but I could careless about others traffic. My point still remains, if you have an expectation of privacy use WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, otherwise don't complain. Besides, what with all the smartphones sniffing your connections, things are really busy out there. And you don't even realise it.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. MrCheese

      Yeees but...

      If I leave my house unlocked and you walk in and take something that still makes you a thief, as does stealing other people's WiFi

      Bloody freetard

  7. Tempest

    Lily-livered suits MP's just fine ...

    as it means the incumbent will unlikely rock their boats and life will continue as normal.

  8. Rogerborg

    They're both spackers

    This bandwagon-jumping trougher, and the supine do-nothings in the ICO. Two mongs don't make a right.

    1. lpopman

      titular tsk

      "They're both spackers...Two mongs don't make a right."

      What are you, 12 or something?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Said the lpopman...

        he he

  9. Tempest

    There are now millions of smartphones sniffing WiFi and reporting to home

    If Google was bad, what does that make those millions of smartphones who routinely sample the ether and report every WiFi they find.

    Better to make that illegal.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps the MP

    would care to vote against IMP?

    <- put snowball in here to calculate chances of this happening.

  11. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    OMG! No shit Sherlock! … ICO enough... I've had enough of this.

    @"Google's invasion of privacy is starting to look like a pattern."

    Starting to look like a pattern?! ... where the fuck have they been for the past decade!

    The ICO are utterly useless. They don't know fuck all about technology. They don't know what is happening in technology, they don't know what capabilities have already been implemented, let alone what capabilities are in research and development. They know fuck all about what they should know about and so they are utterly, totally and completely an absolute waste of time, money and space!

    If an asteroid hit their building today no one would fucking notice. They serve no purpose. They are useless. This is shown by their utter lack of action against Phorm, the government, Google, and dozens of other companies all seeking to add spying capabilities for any number of reasons, not least of which endless advertising and the construction of a police state!

    Starting to look like a fucking pattern?!

    Its no wonder England is the fastest growing Police State in the world with these useless zombies as our line of defence against what is happening!

    Hey ICO we need to fire the whole fucking lot of you!. This situation is increasingly intolerable and increasingly infuriating. Hey ICO this is your last chance, wake up this year or else its too late and if you lot continue to fail to protect us then you are leaving it to us to finally take action against the MPs and government departments guilty of endless pushes towards creating a Police State and I for one have utterly had enough and seen enough. You bastards are not turning my country into a police state and wiping out centuries of freedoms that people fought for, for generations to stop state interference in their lives. No more. I've had enough and seen enough and now I'm angry like never before and as time goes on more and more people are thinking like me. Government time up, enough is enough!

    1. nichomach
      Thumb Up


      1. Absolutely, yes, every word.

      2. EPIC rant, jolly well done.

    2. thecakeis(not)alie

      An internet

      You have earned one.

  12. Beau


    Why all the bitching what the hell else do you expect from a civil servant in a good position! He just wants a quite life till he receives his nice fat pension.

  13. Owen Carter

    FUD for fools

    While you are all screaming and shouting (*1) about something passive that might have happened (*2) for a few seconds once or twice in the last few years. The government (*3) is going to actively record -everything- you do, for a year.

    Is Mr Halfron, a member of that government, looking like your friend now?

    (*1) and insulting the ICO, which will -really- make them sympathetic huh?

    (*2) if you are on the street view routes, and if you did not employ available encryption.

    (*3) via coercion of your ISP, and the considerable costs of this will be passed on to you.

  14. Ian Michael Gumby

    Hmmm must be an election year.

    Sorry, but its sad that it isn't until there is enough public outrage and in this case globally, that the governments may actually consider doing anything.

    With respect to this incident, my bet is that the stuffed shirts will rant and rave, yet do nothing to curtail Google. I would doubt that they would even get fined.

    Maybe the turn around is due to Schmidt's ass-in-nine (emphatic asinine) rants about getting a new identity after your friends post pictures of you doing something stupid on the web.

    Or that Google's retention policies are also questionable?

  15. Oli 1


    The ICO needs breaking up and pushing down the river like a rusted, half sunk ship that she is!

    The amount of hassle they have caused with at work with their general lack of information, you ring up for advise on DPA and you get two different answers from different operators.

    I got dragged through a disciplinary at work as when my directors doubled checked info i had been giving by the ICO, the law had apparently changed over night, and black became white!

  16. copsewood

    One law for corpexecs, another for the rest of us

    Corpexecs determine incoming investment. When they tell governments to jump governments either ask 'how high?' or incoming investments and jobs go elsewhere. This means that laws which apply to the rest of us, e.g. the Computer Misuse Act or the Data Protection Act are not applied in practice to corpexecs. Good examples of this rule include the Sony Rootkit which clearly ignored the CMA section 1, by compromising many of our computers without our authorisation. But no Sony execs did jail time for this because Sony decide incoming investment and how many jobs UK serfs get awarded.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yes but...

      ...we can vote with our wallets, or should I say keyboards, by using Yahoo! or Bing and not buying Android phones. Simples! It's just a matter of educating the public with information campaigns that don't overdo it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gutless? Clueless? Just like he was/is over the BT/Phorm mess

    Yeah, like it sez.

    Big Brother

    Chris Kelly

    From the debate in Parliament this evening (Chris Kelly I believe);

    "The ICO has really let the British people down".

    They have. And so have our MPs.

  19. Shane Kent

    Sounds like Canada's...

    so called pivacy commisioner. I think we need an independent party to come in and investigate the investigators as this all seems fishy to me.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Wanna hear a great Joke?

    The ICO ....

    Go on, have a good belly laugh. Myself and many others do.

    What an ineffective bunch of not earned wage takers they are.

    Don't though tell the one about OFCOM, it will split your sides.

    Protect who? .... Not us, Joe Public.

  21. AndrewG
    Black Helicopters

    And dont forget Googles new motto

    If you don't like the fact that Google control and can publish all your information on the planet...your free to move to a new one

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