Quote: Peter Fleischer, Google's lawyer, said the company was "profoundly sorry for mistakenly collecting" the data. He added: "Since we announced our mistake in May we have co-operated closely with the ICO and worked to improve our internal controls. As we have said before, we did not want this data, have never used any of it, and have sought to delete it as quickly as possible." End quote.
What a piece of spin-doctoring this is. It was not a mistake, as someone had to build the devices that would intercept the data and write the program to make it all work; the word is not 'mistake', the word is 'deliberate'.
If I remember correctly, google didn't announce they had this data, but they were caught out and then had to come clean. It's also apparent they had collected this data for a long time before it became public knowledge, yet google had done nothing to end the continuing collection or delete what they had. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation of why they collected it at all, and why they created equipment that could do it.
If any of us traveled the landscape collecting such data, I'm sure the police and courts wouldn't treat us so kindly; I'd expect conviction, fine, prison, a criminal conviction for the rest of our lives and an investigation of a suspected terrorism plot.