Google has been let off very lightly by the Information Commissioner Office after it promised to delete all the Wi-Fi data that its Street View cars had downloaded in the UK.
One however must ask (a) who will check whether Google has actually deleted the data given that it is only available in electronic format and can therefore be cloned ad infinitum and (b) how do we know that Google will not make use of the secondary data extracted from the Wi-Fi database to get a competitive advantage over its rivals.
Fortunately for Google (and unfortunately for the rest of us), the deputy information commissioner, David Smith, said that the ICO spent less time searching than others like the Canadian authorities did, before unceremoniously adding that if they had searched for days and days, they would have found more.
The ICO has already said that they will do an audit of Google's internal privacy structure, training programs and privacy reviews for new products (ed : what about existing ones?) within the next nine months.
Over a period of more than four years, Google Street View cars systematically criss-crossed 30 countries worldwide, collecting more than 600GB worth of data, whose nature, no one really knows.
Did Google know about the data? Certainly yes. Did Google use it? We shall never know even if the search engine giant would strongly deny it. Was there anyone fired over the privacy violation? Not that we know.