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back to article ICO U-turns on Street View

The Information Commissioner's Office has changed its mind about Google's Street View and decided that it is after all in breach of the Data Protection Act. The watchdog will require Google to sign a piece of paper promising not to break the law again. The ICO will also audit Google's privacy practices. Information …

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WTF?

The Metropolitan Police last week dropped its investigation into the Street View.

So the Metropolitan Police reckon that sniffing and capturing data on unsecured WiFi networks is not a crime as long as you claim it was accidental and you didn't mean to do it (honest) if you get caught?

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FAIL

Gutless ICO....

Because we have told Google not to do it okay...all is okay... and yes we are using our powers correctly.

Dont mess with the ICO as you could be asked to sign a very little useless piece of paper.

So the Moto is "Break the rule, because nothing will happen"

I just dont know why the Govt did not get rid of the useless ICO Office during the rounds of the spending review...

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FAIL

Growls? Whimpers more like..

"The watchdog will require Google to sign a piece of paper promising not to break the law again." So yet again the mighty ICO sends a major transgressor to the naughty step.

The ICO is a massive joke that costs millions, making it so unfunny I can't actually fully describe how bad it is.

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Happy

But that comment is a bit cruel

The worst 'crime' you can commit is not to register a data privacy officer and some years ago the ICO nearly fined a company for not doing that, luckily they found someone to register, but it could have turned nasty and the company concerned got a very serious telling off.

The fact that they registered the toilet cleaner because he must know about privacy because he makes sure the toilet cubicle locks are always working may have been withheld from the ICO, but they got a name, so all must be well.

As to wimpering, that must be an isolated case, probably reserved for Google. I remember a definite whine during the Phorm breach/no breach/breach/not sure/not our problem data gathering exercise

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Don't forget Ball-less

ICO growls, eh? My guts growl louder than the ICO. My cat is still after Christopher Graham's job and will remain so until he shows some balls and takes proper action like fining corporations.

Remember Neville Chamberlain and "I have in my hand a piece of paper"? A piece of paper means nothing and Mr Graham knows it.

Come on Chris, surely you can show us that you've got a pair?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Don't forget Ball-less

Stealth Godwin!

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applause!

see above!

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@Stealth Godwin!

I was going to make a very similar comment about the Chamberlain quote, however not to call anyone a "nazi", but simply to point out the ironic co-incidence.

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Not that I want to support Google you understand, but...

...the ICO and the Fuzz would have to prove "intent" to bring a criminal prosecution. Not an easy thing to do, at least not without spending an awful lot of public money.

Putting Google on notice is perhaps the correct thing to do, at least from a financial standpoint. It's not as if Google could give the data back to sort out their faux pas.

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Re: Not that I want to support Google you understand, but...

>would have to prove "intent"

How about applying for a patent for the technology used to slurp the data, that sounds like intent to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Data Protection

You do not need to prove intent to bring a prosecution under the data protection act.

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Happy

Is that it?

"It is my view that the collection of this information was not fair or lawful and constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act."

So unfair, so unlawful, and so significant... that the fearless, independent, and mighty ICO are going to make Google SIGN A PIECE OF PAPER (without mercy).

Cue drum roll, & cymbal crash.

Is that it?

Brilliant. I could have done that. (And I wouldn't need to take millions of pounds from reputable businesses, stage lavish conferences, or pay hundreds of lazy civil servants to do nothing but cut&paste letters refusing to investigate data protection complaints).

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Alert

Still don't see what the big deal is?

I am still unsure what the big deal is with all of this?

Personally I find Street View very useful - as well as a bit of recreational fun....

Now the last time I checked the information Google have collected was available to all?

The images you can see on Google Street view are the same images one can see if one visits a place and gazes upon it using their eyes.....

As for the wireless information which was collected accidentally or on purpose - it is again available to anyone - you do not need a license to transmit or receive 2.4GHz wireless transmissions and what people are broadcasting via the frequency is available to all.

As far as I understand it - Google did not actively attempt to access computer networks which were broadcasting unencrypted wireless packets - they simply captured the packets. With a bit of luck the whole situation might have encouraged people to switch on the encryption on their networks!

Now don't get me wrong - Google are capable of doing things which I do not agree with - but in general I find a lot of the things people get upset about are not that big a deal.

So to sum up - until they are caught actively attempting to decrypt protected wireless transmissions - they are not breaking the law.

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Grenade

Not even an Enforcement Notice

I've just read ICO's letter to Peter Fleischer* (Global Privacy Counsel at Google).

The signed 'undertaking' isn't even an Enforcement Notice, despite "a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act".

And the audit? it happens in 9 months time, and is consensual; "The scope of an audit is agreed with the data controller and focuses on business processes or functions responsible for processing and protecting personal data".

* http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/library/Corporate/Notices/google_inc_gsv_letter_03112010.ashx

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FAIL

Ewe turn

So the official statement has changed from "meh" to "meh". Why the fuck does the ICO collectively bother getting out of bed in the morning, since no-one else either cares, notices or expects anything useful to happen.

Being publicly exposed for large scale data breaches rarely involves the ICO, and is surely far more unnerving for those caught with their pants down that a telling off from a rather tired Nulab fig leaf.

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FAIL

While the big guys get a piece of paper...

... the little guys get a stern lecture, in this case street photographers. You couldn't make it up

http://tinyurl.com/27dy7qt

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WTF?

Oh ye gods...!

So the ICO thinks what Google did was ok (just a bit naughty) but then goes on to lecture photographers who are not breaking *any* laws on what the ICO thinks is "good practice"!

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criminal Interception for Profit charges

"The most appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in these circumstances is to get " the Executive that signed off on these plan's and put them all up before the judge for criminal Interception for Profit charges etc.

and get some of that massive Google Irish Tax Dodge money back into the Uk coffer's as a start, fuck the fact they now own all their own UK Fibre and rent it out to the poor UK rent boys to also use.

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The law refers to processing data,

and Google didn't process your private material - they "just" "accidentally" captured it into their logs of private and public wireless network locations.

And yes, anyone can easily set up equipment to read nearby unencrypted wireless network traffic - or unencrypted mobile phone calls in the old days - but easy to do doesn't mean legal to do. I can easily trip up old ladies in the street. (But I don't.)

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