Google has been told to destroy unsecured Wi-Fi network data from Australian users after obtaining personal information through street car vehicles.
After a Senate inquiry found the internet search engine guilty of collecting private emails, web addresses and passwords in 2010, Google were ordered to destroy all data.
Yet the internet company revealed they still possessed a portion of data collected, leading to Federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim seeking an explanation as to why.
Fresh from a record-breaking US$22.5m fine for breaking privacy laws, the search giant finds itself at the centre of another privacy debate.
"I do not require Google to retain the additional payload data and, unless there is a lawful purpose for its retention, Google should immediately destroy the data,” says Pilgrim.
"Further, I would also request that Google undertakes an audit to ensure that no other disks containing this data exist, and to advise me once this audit is completed.
"I would add that I am concerned that the existence of these additional disks has come to light, particularly as Google had advised that the data was destroyed.
“Organisations that retain personal information that is no longer required could leave individuals at risk should it be misused."
Google says it re-scanned files from Street View records and found payload data from Australia and other countries.
"We are in the process of notifying the relevant authorities in those countries,” says Google.
"Google intends to delete the Australian disks that we located. If you would prefer that we take another course of action, please advise us by 3rd September 2012 so that we can ensure no steps are taken in that regard without further consultation with you."
After the initial enquiry Google advised the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner that all payload data was destroyed in March 2011.