The Information Commissioner’s Office is considering flexing its enforcement powers in relation to Google’s inadvertent collection of “pay-load” data from WiFi networks. Datonomy was surprised that the ICO’s initial report in July took a very lenient view of the issue. The ICO described its approach at the time as “responsible and proportionate”; others described it as “farcical“. Possibly egged on by its counterparts in Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic to name but a few, the ICO yesterday released this statement:
“Earlier this year the ICO visited Google’s premises to make a preliminary assessment of the “pay-load” data it advertently collected whilst developing Google Street View. Whilst the information we saw at the time did not include meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person, we have continued to liaise with, and await findings of, the investigations carried out by our international counterparts.
“Now that these findings are starting to emerge, we understand that Google has accepted that in some instances entire URLs and emails have been captured. We will be making enquiries to see whether this information relates to the data inadvertently captured in the UK, before deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers.”