MP calls for parliamentary debate and further investigation into Google Street View data collection case

News by Dan Raywood

Large online organisations should be given heavy financial penalties for personal security infringement.

Large online organisations should be given heavy financial penalties for personal security infringement.

Talking to SC Magazine, Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, recently claimed that parliament is not doing enough to investigate privacy invasion by internet companies, and there is a ‘very dangerous shift' towards a ‘privatised version of Big Brother' if UK authorities do not wake up to the invasion of privacy by internet companies.

Halfon said that the only thing that could be done is to hit companies where it hurts, which is financially, and said that he thought companies should be fined.

He said: “The Information Commissioner has looked at this in the past and said something needs to happen, and I genuinely think that there needs to be a serious enquiry to examine the extent to which this is going on, because Google is one example and figure out the best way of dealing with it.

“They should talk to civil liberties people and take people from the ‘internet world' and the companies themselves, and there needs to be a committee of enquiry with the Information Commissioner so we can resolve this once and for all and make sure it doesn't happen again.”

He pointed specifically at the Street View case, where Google admitted that it had collected the personal web activity of users on unsecured WiFi networks by its Street View cars, although it denied gathering payload data. Privacy International said that it could face a criminal prosecution, while Google was forced to apologise following the conclusion of an investigation by the Australian privacy commissioner that found it was in breach of the Australian Privacy Act.

Halfon has posted an early day motion (EDM) on ‘surveillance and the internet', which has so far collected 24 signatures concerning over the collection of data via Street View.

Read the full interview with Robert Halfon MP here
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