Google may soon be feeling the long arm of the law due to the collecting of data from its Google Street View cars. The cars have driven all over the UK (and much of the world) photographing every major, and not so major, road – together with houses and buildings. The photographs have been stitched together to form Google’s Street View, which is a great system that allows you follow routes and directions as if you were really there.
While privacy campaigners have complained about the issues of photographing every detail of people’s homes, this particular issue that could see Google’s collar felt doesn’t concern the pictures themselves. This time, it’s the data Google inadvertently collected via unsecured Wi-Fi networks that has brought them the attention of the Old Bill.
Privacy International, a human rights group, has complained about the fact that Google has saved down information that it collected while patrolling the streets of the UK, Europe and the world. The data Google collected, albeit without their knowledge, could mean that Google has breached the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, also known as Ripa.
Google’s staff in the UK could soon be hauled in and grilled by the Plod over this breach, and after the initial investigation has been completed a specialist team could be brought in to investigate further.
According to Google, data was collected by mistake by the Street View cars because of a piece of code that was unintentionally added to the system. Google is also facing strife from Bobbies in 30 other countries, including France, Germany and the USA.
Google has apologised for collecting the data, but it remains to be seen if they escape the wrath of the Fuzz.
If you were counting our police slang terms in this article, you should have noticed no fewer than six different references! Incidentally, if you’re wondering why the police in the UK are sometimes referred to as the ‘Rozzers’ (as James May always calls them on Top Gear) – it’s because of where they were first set up. Robert Peel created the first police force in the Lancashire town of Rossendale, hence the nickname ‘Rozzers’.