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Google Broke British Privacy Laws

Bianca Keybach rides a trike equipped with Google Street View cameras in a park in Oberstaufen in Bavaria, southern Germany on November 2, 2010, the day on which US Internet giant Google put online its first images from Germany as part of its Street View. STEFAN PUCHNER/Getty hide caption

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STEFAN PUCHNER/Getty

Britain's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, rejected demands that the international search engine be fined for violating the Data Protection Act when the company scooped up secret passwords and more with its Street View mapping cars via open WiFi networks. Instead, Graham wants Google to sign an agreement that it'll stop misbehaving and show how it's reformed itself. Last May, Google said it had indeed collected the information; last month, Alan Eustace, Google's Senior VP for Engineering and Research blogged an apology, saying that emails and URLs were also captured in the sweep. Graham highlighted the post in his letter to Google, warning any future slipup will trigger new penalties. Britain's move comes after Canadian authorities said Google breached privacy laws there; some of the lifted data could include Canadians' private health records, phone numbers and addresses.