Foul play. Shame on you chocofac.
If there is a possibility this data was collected deliberately then there should be an investigation.
An INDEPENDENT investigation.
Not a promise of "We will review it internally and ask a third party to verify it for us." Who will they invite to do this for them? Agnilux? Bumptop?
It seems a bit strange to get caught doing something after 4 years and then claim, "Oh yeah, we didnt spot that," when you clearly own a multitude of systems who's sole purpose is to collect data and analyse usage patterns.
If you take a photo and put it on your computer it might take up 1% more space than you expected. That's probably fine.
But when you are an international corp who's business model is "collect data, store data, sift data, generate ads, give away data, sell ads" then you need a lot of storage space and for this you employ teams of people who estimate data usage patterns and build massive amounts of storage medium accordingly.
When they estimate that Google Voyeur-View will need 1000 TB of space and they build the storage arrays, then a Google Data-Usage-Pattern-Analyser-Specialist employee thinks, "Every time one of our Stalker-Cars comes back to offload it's daily collection we get all this data off it but we seem to get 101% of the data we were expecting and when it all get processed and released to Voyeur-View, not all of the data was collected is actually used."
"And that means that when we spend £10,000,000 on hardware, £100,000 of this is for storage which is unaccounted for."
Of course they knew what was happening. Especially for Google, they wouldn't just buy hardware because it looked like they needed more hardware - they would first analyse the data that appears to be requiring more hardware and see if it could be streamlined.
I really dont think the problem is the guy who wrote the code in the first place, after all he was just doing his job. I think it lies more with the people who are exployed to monitor data usage patters in the chocofac.
Why did it take them 4 years to notice and even then only when they got caught? Because they already knew.
I think I should be allowed to walk round all their data-centres with a powerful magnet.