The Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) slammed Google’s Street View service for collecting personal data from unencrypted WiFi networks, a practice Google has halted and apologized for. The watchdog criticized Google on Tuesday for collecting data on private wireless networks and ordered it to offer 3.6 million Dutch consumers a way to have data about their WiFi router deleted.
According to the Associated Press, Google has already deleted the data that it collected in The Netherlands (as it’s also done in some other countries). But the Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) says Google’s knowledge and use of where those WiFi networks are located “still amounts to gathering personal information.”
Peter Fleischer, Google’s Global Privacy Counsel, said in a statement that the company never inspected or used the data.”Our priority has always been to delete this data, and we’ve now done so with the DPA’s permission,” he said.
But the bureau said Google’s current use of WiFi locations still amounts to gathering personal information. Google spokesman Mark Jansen responded by saying that the company can’t identify people from their WiFi alone, and “nor would we want to.”
More than 30 countries have complained about such data-gathering by Google Inc.