Google dragged in front of ICO for privacy lecture

Google has been hauled in for a ticking off by the mostly gummy UK’s Information Commissioner Office over its famously poor attitude to privacy.

The nosey-parker search giant has been handed a list of recommendations for ways to improve its approach to handling sensitive data.

Following the Wi-Fi data debacle last year Google agreed to be dragged in for an audit to review its behaviour like an errant school kid. Whether Eric Schmidt has been forced to write ‘I will not steal people’s private’ a hundred times on the blackboard is not clear at this point, but we reckon it woud not be an adequate punishment.

The ICO report card has found that while Google had taken actions to improve its behaviour it can most certainly apply itself a bit more in some areas.  Specifically Google should put more effort into informing its users of privacy rules.

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham distanced himself from any type of endorsement of Google however, stating that “the ICO’s Google audit is not a rubber stamp for the company’s data protection policies”.

He also said that company needs to ensure that “its work in this area continues to evolve alongside new products and technologies”, warning that “Google will not be filed and forgotten by the ICO”.

And it is probably only a matter of time before Google is dragged by its ear back into the Information Commissioner’s office. Eventually. After the farce.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently regaled an audience of the possible dangers inherent in the tidal wave of information that is growing – as mind boggling amounts of data are sent through the internet.

Doing little to allay fears of megalomaniacal intentions for the company, Schmidt has offered up some choice quotes. There’s a good list from Techonomy here.

Concerning the move towards transferring zetabytes online, Schimdt famously said: “people aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.”

“If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use Artificial Intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go,” Schmidt said we imagine with the air of a heavy-breathing stalker.

He also highlighted the potential for social network sites to invade privacy, something that is certainly not a far off notion:

“Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don’t have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You’ve got Facebook photos! People will find it’s very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot.”

“In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it.”

A reformed character then?