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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Germany Asks Google to Surrender Private Data

Google came under increased pressure in Europe over its collection of private data from unsecured home wireless networks, as a German regulator threatened legal action if the company did not surrender a hard drive for inspection.

The German demand underscored the seriousness of the quandary Google now faced following its admission last Friday that it had stored the snippets of Web sites and personal e-mail messages from people around the world while compiling its Street View photo archive.

Through a spokesman, Google reiterated its offer to destroy the WLAN data in conjunction with regulators, but stopped short of saying it would hand over a hard drive.

Google last week said it had collected 600 gigabytes of data from unsecured wireless area networks, or WLANS, from around the world as its roving cars compiled a photo archive for Street View.

Google has said its WLAN catalogue was designed to enhance its mobile advertising service, which can alert mobile phone users to nearby businesses and other attractions by often pinpointing their locations through WLANs.

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