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Across the Globe: Google WiFi Fallout Continues

ONLINE PRIVACY

May 19, 2010

While the UK Information Commissioner's Office has ordered Google to destroy data collected from British home wireless networks, a German regulator is threatening legal action if the company does not hand over a hard drive containing information collected from that country by May 26. Johannes Caspar, Hamburg's data protection supervisor, warns that "until we can inspect one of the hard drives ourselves, we will not know to what extent what kinds of data have actually been stored." Google has said it is willing to destroy the data but has not indicated whether it will provide the requested information to German officials, The New York Times reports. U.S. privacy advocates, meanwhile, agree with Germany that the data should be reviewed, describing its collection as "a major violation of user privacy" that warrants "an independent inquiry," and prosecutors in Germany and privacy officials in Australia have launched investigations into the incidents. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding criticized Google for not cooperating with German privacy officials, saying, "It is not acceptable that a company operating in the EU does not respect EU rules." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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