Google has issued a strong rebuttal to the Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO) reopening of the investigation into the Street View data collection.
According to a response obtained exclusively by The Daily Telegraph, the internet giant told the regulator that the payload data "was not 'pre-prepared'".
It also said that the data that was made available to the ICO for analysis was representative of the payload collection, and that a number of statements and assumptions incorrectly suggested that the disk made available to the ICO for analysis was ‘pre-prepared'.
It also rebuffed claims that it had greater knowledge about payload collection prior to its May 2010 blog post than previously had been disclosed.
As reported last week, the ICO is to re-investigate Google after evidence from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that a Google engineer "intended to collect, store and review payload data for possible use in other Google projects", despite Google insisting that it did not initially know about the capability to collect data from unsecured WiFi networks.
Google said that the letter from Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO,: “raises questions about the extent of knowledge of the payload collection in the company prior to Google's public disclosure of the activity two years ago. The FCC report and recent media coverage suggests that there was widespread knowledge. That is not the case.”
Google admitted that managers could have identified ‘red flags', but said that nobody at the company knew what was going on until it was discovered in May 2010.
“No project leader asked for or wanted the payload data; and no payload data was ever used in any product or service. That's the context in which the documents Google has disclosed should be viewed,” said the company.