Google agrees to destroy the last disk taken mistakenly

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 05:00 11/10/2012

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Google has agreed to destroy a disk it obtained while taking photos of New Zealand streets last year.

Some people's private information was accessed when the search engine giant captured data from unsecured wifi networks during its Street View filming.

Google told Government officials in July that it still had payload information from wifi networks, despite saying months earlier that all information had been destroyed and it had been verified by an independent agency.

It told the Office of the Privacy Commissioner that it had one disk which may contain information originated from its Street View filming on New Zealand and Australian roads.

The commissioner's office has ordered Google to destroy the disk.

"It's very disappointing that this disk could be overlooked, Assistant Commissioner Katrine Evans said. “Collecting the information in the first place was a major breach of privacy, and we made it plain as part of our original investigation that all the information should be destroyed.”

News of Google's privacy breach first surfaced in New Zealand in May 2010.

The Privacy Commissioner investigated and said in December that year Google had breached NZ privacy laws. It was ordered to destroy the payload information and Google and an independent third-party verified in March, 2011, that it had.

“Fortunately, it appears very unlikely that the information on the disk has been accessed or used in any way,” Ms Evans said.

"Google is willing to destroy the disk. It has also apologised for its mistake."

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- Fairfax Media

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