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French data watchdog demands Google Street View data

01 Aug 2012
Google Street View car

The French data protection regulator, CNIL, has followed the UK's Information Commissioner Office's (ICO) lead and demanded that Google hands over undeleted data gathered by it Street View cars.

The watchdog, which is also leading a pan-European investigation into changes made by Google to its privacy policies, said that in light of revelations that Google has not in fact deleted all Street View data, it wanted to assess the information it still has on file.

"Like its British counterpart, the CNIL has asked Google to make available the data in question and to keep secure time to conduct all necessary investigations," it said.

The CNIL fined Google €100,000 over the capture of the data that included passwords, logins, website visits and email exchanges. The ICO meanwhile merely took enforcement action against the firm, rather than issuing a fine.

However, the ICO has now demanded that data be handed over for inspection after Google admitted it had failed to delete all the information gathered, despite being asked to do so.

This revelation led Big Brother Watch to criticise the ICO for its handling of the Street View case, with director Nick Pickles questioning whether the regulator is feared by organisations in the UK.

"The ICO is hampered by a woeful lack of powers and is forced to trust organisations to tell the truth," he said.

"Given Google's behaviour has called into question if that really is a proper way to protect our personal data, it must be right to now demand a proper regulator with the powers and punishments to fully protect British people's privacy."

The ICO has also been criticised by MPs over the case too, with one likening the organisation to the Keystone Cops.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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