In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office has concluded its investigation of Google’s Street View privacy gaffe, and there’s good news and bad news for the search giant. The bad, which arguably outweighs the good: it’s been judged guilty of a "significant breach of the Data Protection Act."
In a formal statement, the ICO said, "The Commissioner has concluded that there was a significant breach of the Data Protection Act when Google Street View cars collected payload data as part of their wi-fi mapping exercise in the UK."
This represents quite a black eye for Google on the PR front. UK citizens who were suspicious of (or hostile towards) Street View all along will feel vindicated, and other folks might start getting more concerned.
Still, Google can at least take some comfort in the fact that the ICO has decided not to fine it. Instead, "Google UK will be subject to an audit and must sign an undertaking to ensure data protection breaches do not occur again," according to the organization.
Otherwise, the ICO just wants Google to delete the data it collected as soon as possible.
The ICO also hinted that it’ll be a little less lenient if Google manages to make any similar privacy stumbles in the future.