ICO takes considered approach to Google data theft claims

The furore surrounding accusations levelled at Google, over the data harvesting allegedly carried out by its roving Street View vehicles will not be met with a rash, premature response from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), according to a spokesperson.

The issue of Google’s alleged breach of the Data Protection Act, which occurred when Street View vehicles harvested personal data including email addresses and passwords from Wi-Fi networks around the country, was brought up and debated in the House of Commons, with many MPs claiming that the search giant acted deliberately and with the intent to make gains from the illicitly collected information.

The ICO believes that to react to such accusations without taking the time to properly investigate every aspect of this case would be counter-productive.

According to an ICO spokesperson, it is the job of the regulatory body to take responsible, considered steps towards remedying this situation and ensuring that the protection and privacy of the data owned by private citizens is always at the heart of the matter.

The spokesperson said that there was a great deal of emotional rhetoric surrounding this debate over Google’s actions and it did not wish to be pushed to act without due care.

Although the investigation is not taking place with the speed called for by some politicians and activists, the ICO wants to take all the time it can to ensure that when it reaches a decision on this case, it is taking the right one and puts the interest of the public before all else.

Tory MP Robert Halfon, said that while the current information relating to the nature of the data harvested by Google was unclear, he believes any kind of clandestine data collection should be treated as an affront to privacy.

Mr Halfon is convinced that this is a black and white issue and is concerned that Google has been misleading in its attempts to defend itself in this case.

The ICO said that it hopes to clear up much of this muddy issue through further investigation and discussion with politicians.

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