Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s data collection for its Street View location service will be discussed by European Union privacy regulators following allegations that some Google employees may have known it would gather personal information.
The so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, which includes privacy agencies from the EU’s 27 nations, will meet as soon as next week to discuss allegations that Google was aware it was gathering and storing personal information it didn’t need, according to an EU press officer who couldn’t be identified in line with official policy.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission sought a $25,000 fine after claiming that Google impeded and delayed an inquiry into how the company gathered personal e-mails, text messages and other materials for Street View. An unidentified engineer told colleagues and disclosed in an internal report that the software program would access so-called payload data, which includes personal information such as e-mails, according to an FCC report.
The owner of the world’s biggest search engine never had “a company plan to collect payload data,” said Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Brussels. “We made a mistake, we admitted it and we have cooperated with regulators around the globe to put this matter behind us.”
Google has been targeted by data-protection agencies across the EU over Street View, which lets users click on maps to see photographs of roadsides. Last year, it was fined 100,000 euros ($131,460) in France for violating the country’s privacy rules.
The New York Times reported that EU regulators were reviewing the issue earlier today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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