Google Faces Landmark Fine for 'Gross Invasion of Privacy'
McSmith, Andy, The Independent (London, England)
Google could be the first company to incur heavy fines under British privacy laws, after admitting to downloading private emails and passwords.
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, announced yesterday that he is launching a new investigation into the Street View project, in which Google sent cars around photographing residential areas. In the process, they "mistakenly" collected emails and passwords from private computers on wireless networks.
The breach of privacy has infuriated campaigners. Alex Deane, the director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "As if building up a database of photographs of millions of people's private homes wasn't enough, the news that Google has also 'harvested' email addresses and passwords is nothing short of outrageous. Google must launch an urgent investigation as to how this gross invasion of privacy was allowed to happen."
Six months ago, Mr Graham was granted new powers by the outgoing Labour government, including the authority to hand out fines of up to 500,000 for breaches of privacy. …