Google has admitted it did not delete all of the data collected by Street View mapping cars in 2010 in several countries, despite assuring the public the information -- including passwords and emails -- would be cleared from its records.
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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).
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In addition to the UK, data was also collected in Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Australia.
Though Google says managers knew that junior engineer's code allowed the data to be stored, the company maintains that it never used the information commercially.
"In recent months, Google has been reviewing its handling of Street View disks and undertaking a comprehensive manual review of our Street View disk inventory," Fleischer added in his note to the ICO. "That review involves the physical inspection and re-scanning of thousands of disks. In conducting that review, we have determined that we continue to have payload data from the UK and other countries. We are in the process of notifying the relevant authorities in those countries."
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.
BONUS: Strange and Hilarious Google Street View Sightings
Take a minute and think about the gargantuan task of photographing every inch of road in the world. Is your mind blown? Now you may understand why Google needs so many cars.
This story originally published on Mashable here.