Google set to build stronger controls to safeguard privacy

City A.M. Reporter
GOOGLE is “building stronger controls” to safeguard privacy, a senior executive said yesterday after the search engine giant’s admission to inadvertently gathering emails and passwords across the globe.

Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, told reporters at a conference on Internet security he was “puzzled” that users had made scant use of privacy controls made available on the site months ago, and Google would try to improve them.

“We are building stronger controls,” Fleischer said, adding that developers were seeking to construct a “privacy design document” to bar any abuses of user information.

Google said in a blog published on its website on Friday that its “Street View” cars around the world had accidentally collected more personal data than previously thought, opening the door to new potential probes.

The breach had been discovered by regulators in Germany, and Canada’s privacy watchdog has also charged Google with violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.

In Britain, the Information Commissioner’s Office ICO pledged to reinvestigate how much data had been collected.

Six months ago the ICO was granted new powers. It can impose fines of up to £500,000 for privacy breaches.