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New Zealand Concludes Street View Investigation

Commissioner rules Google breached privacy law, but no major consequences

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The lawyers responsible for handling Google’s affairs in New Zealand may finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief.  The Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand announced today that she’s concluded her investigation into the Street View data collection debacle, and Google will not face any fines or significant penalties.

That’s not to say the search giant’s off the hook in every respect; from now on, it’s supposed to work more closely with Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, and she gave the company a bit of a reprimand in a formal statement.

Shroff wrote, "It failed to tell people that it was collecting the open WiFi information and what it was going to use it for.  This was not good enough.  Google also breached our privacy law when it collected the content of people’s communications."

Still, the Privacy Commissioner later added, "I am pleased that Google has taken full responsibility for the mistakes it made here, and that it has improved its practices to prevent future privacy breaches.  This includes training their staff better, and checking new products carefully before they’re released."

Google should be more than satisfied with this outcome.  The New Zealand Privacy Commissioner’s ideas are indeed covered (and then some) by the company’s own promise to create stronger privacy controls.

New Zealand Concludes Street View Investigation
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