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What Google did not mean to search

A file photo of a Google Street View car. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Google sent its camera vans all over the country - we are all very familiar with the pictures. But the vans also collected personal data.

This happened inadvertently - the firm said it never intended to do this. The data collected came from people's WiFi connections.

Looking at the reports, officials described the data as "fragments of content - not including meaningful personal data that could be linked to identifiable individuals".

It's my understanding that this refers to data collected prior to May 2010.

Google has been given 35 days to delete data unlawfully collected by its Street View cars in the UK. Credit: Ole Spata/DPA/Press Association Images

This enforcement notice places a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining data within 35 days.

This is data that Google found it had on discs back in July last year - they said it has never been accessed or made public.

The Information Commissioner said it was wrong to collect the personal data - but that it did not cause personal detriment.

A Google spokesman said:

We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue. The project leaders never wanted this data and didn't use it or even look at it.

We co-operated fully with the ICO throughout its investigation and having received its order this morning we are proceeding with our plan to delete the data.

One clear lesson for us all is to secure our WiFi connections - so nobody can access them.