ICO confirms not all UK Google Street View data was destroyed

Street view

Google has written to the Information Commissioner's Office to confess that some of the data collected during its Street View initiative was not destroyed as instructed.

The case was recently reopened by the ICO, following a report by the US Federal Communications Commission, which suggested Google Street View had deliberately set out to collect peoples' personal information.

The search giant had agreed with the ICO to delete all of the data acquired by its Street View team in November 2010, claiming it had been collected in error.

The ICO confirmed today that Google has written to the data protection watchdog to confirm that not all of the collected data has been destroyed.

The Google letter claims the payload data was recovered following a review of the Street View disk inventory. The letter confirms that some of the data had been obtained in the UK.

"The fact that some of this information still exists appears to breach the undertaking to the ICO signed by Google in November 2010," said the ICO statement.

"The ICO has always been clear that this should never have happened in the first place and the company's failure to secure its deletion as promised is a cause for concern."

In the Google letter, the company asks the ICO for guidance about what to do with the data, as it would like to delete it.

"Our response, which has already been issued, makes clear that Google must supply the data to the ICO immediately, so that we can subject it to forensic analysis before deciding on the necessary course of action," the statement continued.

"We are also in touch with other data protection authorities in the EU and elsewhere through the Article 29 Working Party and the GPEN network to coordinate the response to this development."

At the time of writing, IT Pro was awaiting a response from Google to the ICO's statement.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.