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Google deletes private data in Ireland; a complaint filed in U.S.

Google said Monday afternoon that upon the request of Ireland's Data Protection Authority, it has deleted private data it collected as part of its Street View application.

In a blog post, the company said that it deleted that information over the weekend in the presence of an independent third party. Google said it is also reaching out to other nations where it also collected data.

The controversy over Google's data collection stems from its announcement Friday that it inadvertently collected private data off of unprotected, or unencrypted, Wi-Fi networks at homes while compiling photos for location-based services.

German officials blasted Google, saying the practice, even if in error, was illegal. California-based Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission seeking an investigation on how the practice affected consumers.

"We are reaching out to Data Protection Authorities in the other relevant countries about how to dispose of the remaining data as quickly as possible," wrote Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research at Google.

I asked Google whether any nations have requested the company retain data, if only temporarily, to determine what kind of information the search giant collects.

A spokesperson said it is in ongoing discussion with regulators and couldn't comment on what has been discussed. It's unclear how widespread the data collection was. Street View is used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and in several European countries.

By Cecilia Kang  |  May 18, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  FTC , Google , Privacy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: U.K. social media subscribers are limiting their networks: Ofcom
Next: FCC adviser Sherrese Smith discusses media, consumer protection


How is it that data on unprotected unencrypted wireless networks are considered "private"? Seems to me that such data should be classified as "public", intent of the homeowner notwithstanding.

Posted by: donrmaxwell | May 18, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"that it inadvertently collected private data"
...inadvertently?.... you must be kidding! they are not illiterate in computers.
To me google has lost its innocence with this revelation. their credo: "do no harm", can no longer be trusted.

Posted by: keasgoo | May 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the Saints presarve us!

Posted by: JONWINDY | May 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Any information they recorded could be read by ANYONE passing by, including actual identity thieves. If you don't want people knowing your passwords, don't transmit them through the air unencrypted! They didn't gather any private information, so there's no privacy issue and they've done absolutely nothing wrong.

Open Wi-Fi had so much potential and it's being squandered by idiotic laws and ignorant paranoia.

Posted by: argh2 | May 19, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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