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October 29, 2010

Google’s privacy blunder sparks Commons debate

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by Janet Harris

Following Google’s admission that its Street View cars mistakenly collected personal data from wi-fi connections, a debate is to be held in the House of Commons today about internet privacy.

The debate, which was called by Conservative Harlow MP Robert Halfon, will cover the need for an ‘internet bill of rights’, with the necessary power to protect the privacy of individuals and halt the collection of private information by commercial companies.

Halfon has criticised the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to take action against Google when it was revealed, earlier in the year, that ‘fragments’ of information were collected along with photographs for the mapping service, which provides panoramic views of streets across the globe.

Since Google revealed this week that the ‘fragments’ were actually emails, passwords and web addresses, the ICO has decided to launch a fresh inquiry.

Google insists that the data was collected accidently and said it stopped collecting the data as soon as it became aware of the situation.

It has since created a Director of Privacy post and improved its training procedures.

Today it was reported that Street View put vulnerable women at risk by publishing a picture of a women’s refuge centre, along with its address.

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