UK ICO orders Google to delete personal data collected by its Street View cars

UK ICO orders Google to delete personal data collected by its Street View carsOn Friday, an enforcement notice was served by UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to Internet search giant Google to delete all the personal data which was inadvertently collected by its Street View cars.

The ICO has given Google a period of 35 days to hand over all the personal data "mistakenly" scooped up in its Street View project, or else face contempt of court action. The data in question was collected by Street View cars over Wi-Fi networks while capturing snapshots for the company's map service. It was in 2010 that Google had admitted to have collected the data accidentally.

The enforcement notice issued by the ICO requires Google to wipe out four discs which contain Internet users' personal information obtained by the company from unsecured wireless networks. In addition, the ICO has also asked Google to notify it about any other additional disks found in the future.

The ICO has also clearly stated that Google's failure to comply with the legal order will be considered a criminal offence.

Meanwhile, promising to abide by the ICO's order, a Google spokesperson said in a statement: "We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue. The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn't use it or even look at it."