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EARTH OBSERVATION
France orders Google to hand over Street View data
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 31, 2012


France's data-protection authority said Tuesday it wants Google to hand over data secretly collected from Internet users by its Street View mapping cars which it failed to delete as promised.

The request came just days after a similar demand by Britain's privacy watchdog after the US tech giant admitted it had not deleted some of the data, including passwords and emails, it sucked up from private wireless hotspots.

France's CNIL authority said on its website that it had asked Google to "place at its disposal the relevant data and to conserve the data for as long as it takes to carry out the necessary investigations".

The CNIL said it and other European data agencies had received a letter from Google on July 27 in which the firm said it was still in possession of some of the data hoovered up by its cars when they were mapping various countries.

A Google spokesman said the company wanted to now erase the remaining data but would not immediately do so as the CNIL and other agencies wanted first to examine it.

Street View, launched in 2006, lets users view panoramic street scenes on Google Maps and take a virtual "walk" through cities and has proved hugely popular with users.

But it has also run into trouble with several governments concerned about privacy.

In May 2010, Google admitted that its Street View cars, taking photographs of cities in more than 30 countries, had inadvertently gathered data sent over unsecured wifi systems, sparking complaints by data regulators worldwide.

Google later agreed to delete the private data.

France's data privacy regulator imposed a record fine of 100,000 euros ($142,000) on Google last March for collecting the private information while compiling photos for the service.

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