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UK regulator warns Google to delete Street View snooping data or risk criminal action

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google maps street view car (SOURCE: GOOGLE)
google maps street view car (SOURCE: GOOGLE)

After re-opening an investigation into Google's Street View privacy violations last year, UK officials have let Google off with a slap on the wrist. The case related to Google accidentally collecting data from open Wi-Fi points via its Street View cars in 2010. Today, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) says that Google must "delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found."

If Google doesn't delete the illegally collected data, it could face criminal proceedings. The ICO also notes that it "will be taking a keen interest" in Google's future operations, and "will not hesitate to take action" if Google breaks the law again. Today's ruling follows the same trajectory as other cases around the world. In the US, the FCC dropped its investigation into Google's Street View snooping, but fined the company $25,000 for impeding its investigation. Germany dropped a criminal case against Google for the same behavior, but did levy a fine of €145,000 (roughly $189,000 at the time) earlier this year, the maximum applicable under German law.