Google's Street View in action
The Information commissioner's office (ICO) gave Google a 35-day deadline on Friday, and said it will launch contempt of court proceedings if the US company fails to take action, reports the Guardian.
The data, which was collected by Google’s Street View cars, is reported to include traces of passwords, emails and text messages sent over unsecured Wi-Fi networks according to claims by US privacy watchdogs.
ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said that failure to abide by the notice ‘will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offence.’
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.’