Google New Zealand has revealed in a blog post what is being done and what the plans are to keep information collected by Google Street View cars in line with New Zealand privacy laws.
The blog entry, posted by Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President, Knowledge says the company worked with the Privacy Commissioner to support the investigation into what happened with Google's mistaken collection of publicly broadcast payload data (information sent over unencrypted WiFi networks) through Street View cars. After the the investigation concluded last year, Google committed to working even more closely with the commissioner on the privacy implications of new product launches.
Google says the deletion of all payload data incorrectly collected was completed in February under independent supervision.
The company committed to ensure Street View images are not real time, and will use automated technology to blur faces and licence plates before publishing imagery. If one of the images contains an identifiable face (for example, that of a passerby on the pavement) or an identifiable licence plate, this technology will blur it automatically, meaning that the individual or the vehicle cannot be identified.
Google also provides the “Report a problem” tool which allows users to request further blurring or removal of any image or let their support people know if the software detectors missed something.
In addition, changes to Street View driving process is being made. All WiFi equipment were removed from Street View cars and there will be no more collection of any WiFi data via the Street View cars.
Last October Google appointed Alma Whitten as director of privacy across both engineering and product management. Her focus is ensuring that we build effective privacy controls into Google products and internal practices. There is now an enhanced privacy training program for employees, and engineering project leader are required to maintain a privacy design document for each initiative they are working on. This document records how user data is handled and will be reviewed regularly by managers, as well as by an independent internal audit team.
The company maintain the collection of payload data was a mistake.