Privacy Commissioner asks Google to destroy newly discovered Street View data

Google said its review of unsecured Wi-Fi data collected by Street View vehicles is complete.

Google has found two additional disks containing Wi-Fi data collected by Street View vehicles during 2010 in Australia. Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has asked Google to delete the newly discovered disks.

Pilgrim previously asked Google to destroy Street View data back in August. At the time, he asked Google to verify that it had located all the data.

In a letter to the Australian Privacy Commissioner dated Monday, Google said its Street View review is now complete.

“We can advise that the final stage of this process identified two additional Street View vehicle disks that were used for the collection of data in Australia during the time that Wi-Fi data collection was ongoing,” Google wrote. “Both disks have always been securely housed in our quarantine cages, but our systems were not able to recognise them as Australian. We apologise for this error.”

Google offered to delete both disks with Pilgrim’s approval. One of the disks also included New Zealand data, so Google is also seeking approval from that country’s privacy commissioner, it said.

“I have informed Google that it should immediately destroy this data, unless there is a lawful purpose for its retention,” Pilgrim said in a statement. “Once this has occurred I have asked Google to again confirm via an independent third party that the data has been destroyed.”

“I remain concerned that this data still exists given that Google previously confirmed that all data relating to this issue had been destroyed,” Pilgrim said. “I have advised Google that it is important that there is no further Street View Wi-Fi data in Google’s possession requiring destruction. I have asked Google for further information about their audit process to allow me to better understand the steps taken during the review of their disk inventory.”

Google said in its letter that it doesn’t “expect to identify any other Australian disks”.

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