The row erupted when Tory MP Robert Halfon admonished Information Commissioner Christopher Graham last week, blasting: “The Commissioner has been lily-livered. When its officers first investigated this outrage, they visited Google’s headquarters, had a nice chat with its senior executives, went through their computers and decided to do nothing.”
However, Deputy Commissioner David Smith, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, has hit back at Halfon. He said: “We have been urging Parliament to give us stronger powers for years, it is precisely because of MPs hesitancy that we have not been able to act.”
Earlier this week, the ICO stopped short of slapping an enforcement notice on Google UK, instead saying it will be subject to an audit and must sign an undertaking to ensure data protection breaches do not occur again.
But Smith stressed it was powerless to issue a heavy fine as it has only recently won additional powers to fine organisations up to £500,000. Previously the maximum fine it could impose was just £5,000.
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