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Posted at 09:56 AM ET, 06/20/2012

Google ‘surprised’ that British investigators have reopened probe

This post has been updated.

Google responded Wednesday to British investigators who are looking further into the company’s collection of WiFi payload data, saying that it is surprised that the Information Commissioner’s Office is reopening its probe.

Last week, British regulators said they would reopen their investigation into Google’s collection of WiFi payload data by way of Google Street View Cars — something the company has said was completely unintentional.

As the Associated Press reported, British regulators want to reopen the probe following the release of a Federal Communications Commission report that appeared to indicate Google knew about the collection from the beginning.

In a filing posted at The Telegraph, Google responded, saying that despite suggestions in the FCC report, there was not widespread knowledge of the fact that payload data was being collected within the company.

The FCC documents, Google said, show “at most, a few people early in the project could have seen some red flags in a document or an email and inquired further. But that assumes too much. These few individuals are unequivocal that they did not learn about the payload collection until May 2010.”

In closing, Google said that it hopes the ICO will share the company’s view that the FCC documents do “not in any way change the position” that the ICO took when it closed its investigation in 2010.

In a statement, Google said, “We're happy to answer the ICO's questions. We have always said that the project leaders did not want and did not use this payload data. Indeed, they never even looked at it.”

By  |  09:56 AM ET, 06/20/2012

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