Saturday, November 20, 2010

Google gets off with a slap on the wrist

After the furore over Google and in particular Google Street View and it's lack of concern for invading individual's privacy and undermining freedom, you would have thought Google was in for some serious punishment. It's not like there wasn't people advocating some very sensible reforms to force Google and other Internet firms to comply with respect for civil liberties. At the Backbench Business Committee Debate on Google and Privacy initiated by Robert Halfon there were some excellent suggestions made.

Once again the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham seems to have ignored the concerns of many people who care for liberty. He seems to have ignored his International counterparts from countries like South Korea, USA and Germany who seem to take Google's lack of concern for individual freedom much more seriously. If his refusal to come down hard on Google in the first place when there abuse of Google Street View was worrying, his next steps have been no less so. Compared to other Information Commissioners across the world our Information Commissioner has been asleep at the wheel. If he was in the private sector rather than in the safe world of a quangocrat I dare say he would have been fired.

Apparently we are all now safe from the prying eyes of Google who have signed a document committing them to better handling of individual's data. Note this document doesn't put any stop to how much Data Google has be and will in the future collect. However Google has signed similar documentations in the past. It is not worth the paper is written on. If we really want to get serious with Google, criminal proceedings need to be looked into.

Apparently the Information Commissioner is going to be taking an audit of all Google's work when it comes to handling. If its anything like the previous investigations by the Information Commissioner into Google, I'm sure they are quaking in their boots.

Apparently Google is in the Information Commissioner’s good books because they graciously deleted the WI-Fi data on individuals that they collected. That it took them so long to delete the data does not seem to perturb him.

If ever there was proof that the surveillance state in both its public and private sector forms in Britain is still very much alive the softly-softly approach to Google is.