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Google's Street View problems widen as European data regulators mull revelations

03 May 2012
Google Streetview Red Car

Google is facing further Street View headaches as more European data regulators are mulling re-opening investigations of the search giant's Wi-Fi data breaches.

Earlier this week, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office said it was considering whether further action was merited.

Now, according the New York Times, other European data regulators including those in France, Germany and the Netherlands are also considering their position.


However, the NYT also noted that it is not clear whether they would legally be able to reopen cases.

V3 contacted French data protection regulator CNIL for its position on the matter but had received no reply at time of publication.

The matter is also set to be debated at a meeting of Europe's most senior privacy panel, known as the Article 29 Group.

The widening of Google's Street View problems comes after a report from the US Federal Communications Commission, which said Google supervisors had been informed about Street View's Wi-Fi sniffing capabilities as far back as 2006.

Google had originally used its fleet of Street View cars to add 360-degree photos to its map service.

But it also began collecting Wi-Fi data ostensibly to improve its range of location services.

It subsequently emerged that this had resulted in the collection of more than 600GB of householders' personal data, including emails, photos and passwords sent over unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspots.

When European data regulators investigated Google over the issue in 2010, Google had claimed the data breach was a result of an oversight by one rogue engineer.

Google has not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication when contacted by V3.

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