British authorities on Friday gave Internet giant Google 35 days to delete any remaining data collected by its Street View cars when taking city snapshots for its map service.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ordered the search giant to destroy four discs containing information it obtained from unsecured wireless networks. ICO warned Google that failure to comply with the legal order will be considered a criminal offence.
In order to offer supplementary content to its standard map service, Google uses
specially-equipped vehicles that take snapshots of city streets. However, the vehicles also picked up data from unsecured WiFi networks.
Google had previously pledged to destroy all data collected in this manner, but it admitted last year that it had "accidentally" retained the additional discs.
According to an earlier report by the US Federal Communications Commission, an engineer deliberately wrote the software to capture the information and shared his work with the entire Street View team.