A spokesman for the ICO, which finished an initial investigation in May, said: “We will be making enquires to see whether this information relates to the data inadvertently captured in the UK, before deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers.”
Six months ago, the ICO was granted new powers. It can impose fines of up to £500,000 for privacy breaches.
Google’s disclosure and apology come just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused the company of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.
Regulators in France, Germany and Spain, among others, have opened investigations into the matter. A coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general in the United States have also launched a joint probe.
“If in fact laws were broken...then there’s some serious question of culpability and Google may need to face significant fines,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington DC-based privacy advocacy group.