The UK Information Commissioner’s Office is re-opening its investigation into Google’s Street View data slurping. New information uncovered by the FCC's privacy investigation showed the company might not have been as innocent as it claimed to UK officials in 2010. Google had previously insisted that it did not want the data its cars "mistakenly" collected, and tried to delete it as soon as possible. However, in April of this year the FCC found that collecting the data — which included full email messages and IM conversations — was an intentional decision by a single Google engineer, whose colleagues had also been briefed on the plan.
"We were specifically told by Google that it was a simple mistake."
Sworn declarations released by Google on Tuesday, however, say that its employees were not aware that the Street View program was collecting the data, contending either that it wasn’t part of their job or that they hadn’t read the pertinent documentation. If the ICO does end up imposing fines, Google could be facing penalties up to £500,000 (about $777,500), and other European regulators are looking at reopening investigations as well. The company is also still facing charges in Germany, where the data slurping was first discovered. Back in April, Google agreed to pay $25,000 to the American FCC "in order to put this investigation behind it." Too bad it can't say the same for the other investigations.