Google has admitted that they never deleted all the user data collected by its street view vehicles, even when they agreed to do so 18 months ago.
Google sent an email to the U.K. information Comissioner's Office accepting and justifying their actionand they promised to delete all the public information -- including passwords and emails in 2010.
The street view vehicles sniffed the content of users internet communications on open Wi-Fi networks.
The reason for this Google fail: human error, The Telegraph reports the search giant as saying.
"Google has recently confirmed that it still has in its possession a small portion of payload data collected by our Street View vehicles in the UK. Google apologizes for this error," Google Global Privacy Counsel Pete Fleischer wrote to Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Google said it discovered "a small portion of payload data ... from the UK and other countries." The email, which the ICO has made public, came from Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel.
According to the ICO, the data was collected before May 2010 and was supposed to be deleted before December 2010. Google agreed with the ICO to delete the stored information in November 2010.
The ICO has demanded Google immediately supply its stored data before the office will decide how to procede with its course of action.
Google asked the ICO for permission to delete the remaining payload data in its email. However, the ICO notified Google that the body intends "to examine the contents of the remaining payload data."
Fleischer indicated in his email that Google would be willing to allow the ICO to inspect the data.
The company has also faced inquiries over data collection in other countries, including Spain and Italy.