updated 05:30 pm EDT, Wed November 3, 2010
No fine will be imposed
Britain's Information Commissioner has ruled that Google violated UK regulations when the search giant collected Wi-Fi data while canvassing the country to expand Street View imagery. Despite the ruling, Google does not face a fine unless it repeats such actions or fails to comply with an audit of its data protection methods.
"There was a significant breach of the Data Protection Act when Google Street View cars collected payload data as part of their wi-fi mapping exercise in the UK," said Commissioner Christopher Graham.
Canada and several other European countries are currently involved in ongoing investigations following Google's admission that it had accidentally collected sensitive data, while the FTC recently dropped its investigation without imposing any penalties. Content gleaned from open Wi-Fi networks included passwords, e-mail messages, web addresses, and a variety of other data.
"We are profoundly sorry for mistakenly collecting payload data in the UK from unencrypted wireless networks," said Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer. We did not want this data, have never used any of it in our products or services, and have sought to delete it as quickly as possible." [via Reuters]