back to article Google to scrub slurped UK Wi-Fi data

Google has agreed to delete the slurped Wi-Fi data its Street View spymobiles "inadvertently collected" as they prowled the UK's highways and byways. The Information Commissioner's Office has announced that Google has also "signed a commitment to improve data handling", and faces an ICO audit of its "internal privacy structure …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Shonko Kid

    "Google has agreed *TO* delete the slurped Wi-Fi data..."

    Why the £^(& do they still have it?!?

    1. Law


      they were told not to....

  2. eJ2095

    I love these

    Agreed to wipe data..

    Just wondering what's to stop them making a copy..

    How do you prove that it has been deleted?

    Makes me smile

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Fail squared.

    Surely the "significant achievement" would have been to put in place a robust legal framework to protect the user, and to prevent slippery companies such as Google doing such deeds in the firstplace.

    Oh, sorry... I forgot this is the UK isn't it.

  4. Pawel 1

    hasn't google

    said before that they will delete the data asap, but don't want to do it straight away to not be accused of removing evidence? ICO has done exactly as google requested-given them official seal of approval for remiving the data. Gotta love the gov here...

  5. Ospud

    What a joke

    This "controversy" is an utter joke. I can collect the same information walking down the street using free software on my mobile phone. Anyone can.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Why is it that techheads just don't understand right and wrong?

  6. Asgard


    "had mistakenly collected payload data, likely to include a very limited quantity of emails, URLs and passwords"

    Well that's a very interesting redefinition of the word "mistakenly" (not to mention a very strange definition of limited). They spent every day for years systematically collecting and storing as much wifi data as they could get from around the world and they want us to believe that's mistakenly ... WTF!

    I also don't see any legal action, not even a fine. Yet they want to call that a "significant achievement"?! … plus it took them months more than other countries to even start looking into all this. Yet this is the best they can do!

    A significant achievement my arse. I want to know how much this consistently useless quango is costing us. It would also be very interesting to know how much their boss is paid as well. :(

  7. Mike Hanna


    It was a bloke on the street who went round doing this, anyone know what the crime and punishment would be?

    Anyone wanna start taking bets on how long it will take for all the slurped date to end up on a few BitTorrent files?

    Thumb Down

    Signed commitments?

    I'd welcome a signed commitment from Chris Graham... that the ICO Data Protection Racket would, just once in blue moon, make an attempt to act like an independent and competent data protection authority (rather that a lazy & corrupt sham regulator).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ICO

    talk a great deal, but say very little.


  10. bexley

    they were not allowed to delete it...

    ...until the concerned governments had taken a look to see what they had.

    There is nothing to stop them making a copy of course, but why would they?

    They have too much heat on them to try and use it now

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hot Tip

    Anyone who followed the link in the article and downloaded a copy of The Undertaking and is wondering WTF's a .ashx file can simply change the file extension to .pdf, and all will be revealed.

    In the interests of wildlife conservation, please do not feed the weasels.

  12. 7mark7

    Keystone Cops ...

    ... let crooks destroy evidence.

    Nothing to see here. Move on says useless Quango.

    Can we have a "candidate for cutting" icon in this age of austerity please?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Fucking disgusting

    So the UK gov is telling Google that as an award for destroying the evidence they are going to stop the investigation. This country is fucked.

  14. Mike Flugennock

    Here's the part that bugs me just as much...

    "Google’s purpose had been to identify Wi-Fi networks and to map their approximate location using the GPS co-ordinates of the GSV car when the radio signal was received. The aim was to build and improve the geo-location database for location-based mobile applications."

    Never mind slurping URLs and passwords... why the hell do they want to map WiFi networks for geo-location? I mean, besides making it easier for them to shove advertising at us.

    1. Mike007

      why wouldn't you?

      load google maps on a wifi-enabled computer (using chrome or firefox, no idea if IE supports it)... click the funny circle in a square button above the zoom slider thing... that's why

      how many people have a GPS receiver in their computer? how many have wifi? it's not as good and doesn't work everywhere but it's better than nothing - there are other sites with similar databases, but if you've got a fleet of cars covering pretty much every road in the country then while you're at it you might as well build your own more accurate more up to date database that you won't have to pay someone else for access to...

  15. petur


    Because they will be able to, in the absence of GPS (signal or device), give you pretty accurate location info. This can mean 1) you can save battery by leaving GPS off if you do not need the super accuracy of GPS but find cell tower triangulation not accurate enough 2) you can use location services on a device that only has wifi

  16. ShaggyDoggy

    Ah ...

    perhaps they are not deleting it, they are "putting it beyond use"

  17. Velv

    Disk space....

    Having had many many months to analyse the data, mine it, corelate it and report on it, the ICO is now making Google do exactly what they would need to do - delete it to make room for the next chunk to be analysed.

  18. James Micallef Silver badge

    In other words

    Google got away with a "OK, won't do it any more". Not even a slap on the wrist. Not even a token forced (non)-apology.

    If it were you and me slurping up people's Wi-Fi it would be massive fines and potential jail time.

    Massive FAIL for the ICO

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Next time they catch you stealing

    Destroy the stolen goods and call it a significant achievement.

  20. Sam Therapy
    Thumb Down

    Yet another bullshit announcement by the ICO

    When will this useless department grow a pair and start making examples of organizations who flout the law?

    Never mind warnings, let's see some hefty fines* and jail time.

    * Fines should not be applied in cases where government departments have done wrong, since the taxpayers would shoulder the burden. The options should be loss of job and/or jail. That'd sort the bastards out PDQ.

  21. Dog Faced Boy
    Thumb Down

    need a title

    A council gets a £100,000 fine yet Google gets a a simple tut-tut and don't do it again, and ACS Law is still operating with no decision made against them (yet). Just doesn't make any sense IMO

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like