The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has confirmed that a former privacy chief who worked at the organisation during its investigation into Google's Street View Wi-Fi data sniffing is now a senior privacy chief at the search giant.
"This is a pretty shocking revelation. It raises more questions about the information commissioner than it does Google because clearly the ICO has been asleep on their watch on this issue," MP Robert Halfon told The Guardian.
Halfon also confirmed to V3 that he would be tabling a motion to debate the isuse in the House of Commons.
Halfon has previously been highly critical of the ICO, comparing them to the Keystone Cops for their handling of the Street View investigation.
McCartney held his position at the privacy watchdog between 2004 and 2011, when the ICO investigated Google. That investigation resulted in a slap on the wrist for the firm, but no regulatory action, to the dismay of many privacy advocates.
The investigation has been subsequently reopened, though, after revelations in the US that Google was informed by its own engineers that the technology would gather information from open Wi-Fi networks.
However, the ICO downplayed the situation, claiming McCartney, "played no part in the investigation into the Google Street View project".
"ICO employees continue to be legally bound by a confidentiality agreement after they leave the organisation, as part of the Data Protection Act," a spokesperson added.
"The published correspondence between Google and the ICO clearly shows that Stephen McCartney was treated like any other organisation's representative, with his emails receiving nothing more than a polite acknowledgement."
Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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