The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has again come under fire for the way it handled Google's collection of data from public Wi-Fi networks.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon told The Guardian that the ICO had failed to send technically skilled people to Google's offices when it first examined the data gathered by the Street View service.
"I find it astonishing that the information commissioner seemingly did not send technical people to investigate the Google breach of our private data," he said.
"The ICO seems more Keystone Cops than protector of our civil liberties. It is extraordinary that the ICO can spend £13m on PR over 10 years, but can't find the right resources to investigate breaches of our data protection."
Halfon's attack came after the ICO revealed that the two staff sent to Google's London offices were an assistant commissioner and a strategic liaison group manager.
The ICO defended the choice of staff it sent to Google's offices, telling V3.co.uk in a statement they were suitably qualified and that advanced technical expertise was not required for the work they did.
"As senior data protection staff with considerable experience, the staff that visited Google’s offices were qualified to judge whether any of the information collected by Google was meaningful personal data and whether the Data Protection Act was breached," it said.
The ICO also revealed during a response to written questions in Parliament tabled by Halfon that neither the current nor former information commissioners have met with Google staff for over two years.
Halfon has previously insisted that Google must have known that it was gathering the data when it started its Street View project.
"I find it hard to believe that a company with the creative genius and orig inality of Google could map the personal Wi-Fi details, computer passwords and email addresses of millions of people across the world and not know what it was doing," he said.
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