recommended reading

You Know Who Else 'Inadvertently' Gathered Your Electronic Data?

Paul Sakuma/AP file photo

Not long ago, when a Google Street View car came driving down your street, it wasn't just taking pictures to add to Google Maps—it was also scooping up information about local Wi-Fi networks as well as individual e-mail addresses and passwords. The privacy scandal led to formal investigations, international complaints—and in the United States, a $7 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Google maintains that the information was collected and stored inadvertently.

A British official Friday decided not to impose another monetary penalty on the company, but instead hasordered Google to delete any Street View data that remains in its possession. 

On its own, this is pretty good news for privacy advocates. They might even be rejoicing right now—if not for the fact that we just spent the last month learning about an even bigger secret surveillance program run by the National Security Agency. 

Google has 35 days to delete its data, or it will face criminal penalties.

On the other hand, NSA can hold your data for up to five years and never tell a soul.

It can keep "inadvertently acquired" data if it contains information about "threat of harm to people or property." It can listen in on U.S. citizens' phone calls or read their e-mails, without a warrant, as part of the process of determining whether said citizens fell unfairly into NSA's crosshairs.

As The New York Times noted Thursday, both NSA and Silicon Valley mine vast amounts of data to detect patterns; the only difference is one does it for intelligence and the other does it to make money.

But there's another difference The Timesdidn't mention. Despite functionally being in the same business, each organization is subject to radically different consequences if it breaches privacy protocols.

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Stolen credentials

85M User Accounts Compromised from Video-sharing Site Dailymotion

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.