Allan Dowd
October 19, 2010

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canada’s privacy watchdog accused Google Inc on Tuesday of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians by inappropriately collecting their personal information in building its Street View service.

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Google must tighten its privacy protection systems to prevent a repeat of the incident, blamed on a careless software engineer, and should get rid of the data it accidentally collected, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said.

“Our investigation shows that Google did capture personal information — and, in some cases, highly sensitive personal information such as complete emails. This incident was a serious violation of Canadians’ privacy rights,” Stoddart said in a news release.

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Google has found itself in the cross-hairs of privacy officials in several countries since it acknowledged in May that the fleet of cars used to take images for Street View were also collecting personal information from unsecured home wireless networks as they drove by.

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