Google told to destroy intercepted Wi-Fi data – Irish authorities

4 Jun 2010

While countries like Germany, France and Spain have asked Google to hand over Wi-Fi data that was intercepted by Google’s Street View teams, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission told the search giant to destroy the data.

“We just told them to delete it,” a spokesman for the Data Protection Commission told this morning. “Our normal response to improper data is to delete it on the spot, Germany took a different take.”

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, yesterday told the Financial Times that within the next two days the company would hand over the rogue data it intercepted from private, unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

Future Human

However, the Data Protection Commission of Ireland believes there was a miscommunication at Google regarding data gathering. “When they reported this, we told them to delete it and get the deletion verified by a third party, which they did.

“They have given us an assurance that they won’t do it again.

“The other thing is we would urge people to password protect their wireless local area networks (WLANs).”

Privacy proofed

Returning to Google, the spokesman for the DPC said it has urged the search giant and any other technology companies that are innovating with new products and services to consider privacy from the get-go. “In future, when they are rolling out new products and service they should be privacy-proofed from the beginning.

“It’s no good coming back to us later with their hands out apologising. Google got a third party to delete the data and assured us they won’t use the software anymore. But what we really want is the next Street View to be privacy-proofed before they begin gathering any kind of  data.

“Google, of all companies, know this. We’ve been down this road with them before. There is nothing that I am saying to you that I haven’t said to them at their European HQ in Dublin. We are in ongoing dialogue with Google at all times,” the spokesman told

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years