Google slammed for NZ breach

Google has been criticised by the Privacy Commissioner for failing to destroy private information it collected from unsecured WiFi networks during its Street View filming in New Zealand, in what has been termed "a major breach of privacy".

In recent checks, Google found one disk that may still contain New Zealand and Australian information, along with disks relating to other countries, the commissioner said in a statement.

"These had been missed when Google responded to the original privacy investigations."

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

Google had earlier informed the commissioner that all the "payload" information - contents of communications crossing the WiFi networks - had been securely destroyed. The destruction was verified by an independent agency.

"It's very disappointing that this disk could be overlooked," said Assistant Commissioner Katrine Evans.

"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.

"Fortunately, it appears very unlikely that the information on the disk has been accessed or used in any way. Google is willing to destroy the disk. It has also apologised for its mistake.

"We sincerely hope that this will be an end to what has been a long-running saga."


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