Google hired former ICO data official

By Dyenamic Solitions - Last updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

It has emerged that Google UK’s privacy policy manager held a senior role at the UK’s data privacy watchdog during the time of its original probe into Street View.Google hired former ICO data officialA freedom of information request has revealed that Stephen McCartney left the Information Commissioner’s Office to join Google in November 2011.

The ICO had been criticised for its initial investigation- which has since reopened – into data privacy breaches.

The ICO claims that Mr McCartney “played no part” in the investigations. In its own statement, Google said: “We don’t comment on individual employees.”

Rob Halfon, Tory MP for Harlow, told the Guardian that the news was a “shocking revelation”.

“Now it seems they [the ICO] have had a cosy relationship with the company they have been investigating,” he told the newspaper.

Mr McCartney was head of data protection promotion at the ICO where he had worked, according to his LinkedIn profile, since 2004.

During this time, the ICO conducted an investigation into allegations that Google had knowingly gathered personal personal data while collecting photographs as part of its Street View mapping project.

The ICO ruled that there had been a “significant breach” of the Data Protection Act- but opted not to fine the company, a decision heavily criticised by campaign group Privacy International and others.

Of the 2010 investigation, deputy information commissioner David Smith told the BBC: “We spent less time searching than others did. If we had searched for days and days we would have found more.”

It later emerged that several Google staff had been told that data was being deliberately collected- forcing the ICO to reopen its inquiries.

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