GOOGLE will today face a grilling by privacy campaigners who claim the firm should be held accountable for collecting sensitive personal information.
It will face accusations its Street View project, which uses special cars to record photographic images and WiFi network data, intentionally collected unencrypted information, including private emails and bank details.
Google strongly denies the claims, pointing out that it raised the alarm itself when it realised its mistake.
The event will feature guest speakers including Rob Halfon MP, who has raised concerns over Google in parliament. Campaigners from Privacy International and the European Privacy Association will also be present at the debate which will take place at Big Brother Watch’s Westminster headquarters. (BBW). They will also question why the Information Commission failed to launch an investigation when presented with the evidence.
A Google representative will be present to defend the firm.
Alex Dean from BBW told City A.M.: “We want a genuine debate about how these alleged intrusions were allowed to happen.I think that this will be the definitive discussion to date of the most controversial aspect of Google’s operations here in the UK. We will be questioning why the Information Commissioner’s Office failed to look into the matter. I suspect there has been a case of backing down in the face of a big company.”
The event is the latest evidence that the tide of public opinion is turning against the internet giant, whose founding slogan was “Don’t be evil”. It also attracted criticism for allowing the Chinese state to censor its search results, although the relationship between the two has now broken down and Google has shifted its offices to Hong Kong.