Street View privacy breach damaging to user confidence in the brand
by Jack Adams, SEO Consultant, Greenlight
Google has escaped a fine for collecting personal data – including email addresses and passwords – being used in UK public Wi-Fi spots.
Despite labelling the act as a “significant breach” of the Data Protection Act that was “not fair or lawful,” the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has simply requested that Google delete the offending data and given the search giant nine months to review its privacy practices.
The general consensus is that the ICO has been very lenient over this – its probe has been labelled “lily-livered” by Tory Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Halfon. But has Google really escaped lightly?
The damage to Google’s brand perception is substantial. In direct monetary terms it seems certainly Google has got off lightly, in the UK at least. Investigations in other nations are ongoing.
However, there can’t be any denying that some extent of damage has been done to users’ confidence in the brand and its squeaky-clean image, built around the company’s ‘don’t be evil’ motto.
This damage has been compounded by the widespread national news coverage of the privacy breaches, especially with the matter being discussed in UK parliament.
Even in general conversations, one slightly less-than-tech-savvy individual expressed reservations over Google, asking whether this breach means they should discontinue internet banking in fear of online fraud, demonstrating just how this news has pervaded the general public. The question though is whether this has put the respective individual off searching with Google? Will they now switch to a competitor?
The damage to Google’s brand perception is substantial.