Days after the Federal Trade Commission closed an inquiry into Google's Street View mapping service, the British government accused Google of committing a "serious breach" of privacy laws by collecting personal information exposed while gathering data for its online maps, The New York Times reports.
Google said the information was collected inadvertently, when camera-equipped Street View cars, taking photos and gathering wireless network location information, intercepted e-mail messages, passwords and other personal information from unsecured Wi-Fi systems, The Times reports.
Several states, led by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, called on Google in July to release more information about the program. The FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to adopt new privacy procedures, but Blumenthal, who was elected U.S. Senator for Connecticut this week, said the multistate investigation will continue.
The UK's Information Commissioner's Office opted not to fine Google following a promise by Google not to repeat its "mistake," but a number of other European countries are still investigating the practice, The Times reports.
The EU proposed rules Thursday that would give users the right to "permanently delete already submitted personal data" and require user consent before companies such as Google or Facebook can use or process data in any way, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A column in The Washington Post suggests the U.S. and European responses to Google's actions demonstrate a "an increasing gap between regulators in the United States, where the freewheeling Internet culture has birthed many of the social networking sites and search engines used worldwide, and governments in Europe and Canada, which tend to be much more aggressive about privacy."