U.K. slaps Google's wrist over Street View Wi-Fi flap

This time Google really did do no evil.

That's the assessment of the U.K.'s primary data-protection agency, which yesterday said Google did indeed violate the law by collecting personal information on unencrypted Wi-Fi routers through its Street View program, but also judged the infraction inadvertent and minor enough to let the company off without so much as a fine.

Seems about right.

From an IDG News Service story:

To satisfy the (Information Commissioner's Office), Google will be subject to an audit within nine months by the ICO and must sign a document saying they will face further action unless the company takes steps to ensure data is protected.

The ICO has mandated that the company must put programs in place to train employees on data protection and the law, train engineers on the handling of data and start a security awareness program, among other requirements.

Again, that seems about right.

As it has from the start of this tempest, Google again professed that it did not intend to collect the personal information that it collected. In a statement carried by the Guardian:

Google global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, said: "We are profoundly sorry for mistakenly collecting payload data in the UK from unencrypted wireless networks.

"Since we announced our mistake in May we have cooperated closely with the ICO and worked to improve our internal controls. As we have said before, we did not want this data, have never used any of it in our products or services, and have sought to delete it as quickly as possible.

"We are in the process of confirming that there are no outstanding legal obligations upon us to retain the data, and will then ensure that it is quickly and safely deleted."

While apparently having satisfied the U.K. regulators, Google's data collection activities remain under scrutiny by authorities in Spain and Germany. 

And the lawsuits are certain to continue.

The lawsuits always continue.

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