In 2010 Google's Street Cars were caught snooping on data obtained from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. The vehicles collected sensitive information, such as passwords and emails. This action was attributed to a programming error, however it had caused controversy
in whether or not Google knew it was collecting this data or it was an accident as claimed.
Either way, the data was supposed to have long been deleted.
reported the admission came on Friday when Google told the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office in a letter it failed to completely comply with the directive and promised it would take care of the issue, but was asking how to proceed.
The Los Angeles Times
reported Google noticed this when the company had been giving its Street View Car a manual review and noticed a "small portion" of the data still remained.
The ICO released a statement
“Earlier today Google contacted the ICO to confirm that it still had in its possession some of the payload data collected by its Street View vehicles prior to May 2010. This data was supposed to have been deleted in December 2010. The fact that some of this information still exists appears to breach the undertaking to the ICO signed by Google in November 2010."
The agency said it is clear this data should not have been collected in the first place and Google's failure to delete all the data two years ago when promised is "cause for concern."
"Google apologizes for this error," wrote Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, in the letter, which can be found on the ICO's website
The ICO now says the agency wants to examine the data through forensic analysis before deciding on a course of action.